Yes, this is a blog about shaving and grooming, but for one month out of the year, there’s good reason to put down that razor. That reason, of course, is Movember, a now international sensation dedicated to raising money for men’s health issues. Here in my city, Milwaukee, you’ll find tons of guys sporting ‘staches for their favorite causes this month. Men like Dave Thorpe, a project manager, who’s dedicating his mustache to his father.
“He found out almost by accident that he had an 80-plus percent blockage in a carotid artery,” says Thorpe. “Statistically speaking, men go to the doctor for routine physicals and concern themselves with their own health issues far less than their female counterparts. This culture needs to change.”
An impressive 48 of Thorpe’s colleagues are participating in Movember and are throwing a party to celebrate the end of the mustache growing mission.
Local ad agencies like Laughlin Constable are getting into the act, too. At LC, 14 men have joined up, concluding with their own party on at the end of the month that will crown the “Man of Movember” and “Sister of Movember,” complete with mustache cookies and “pin the mustache on the face” games.
The campaign, embraced by Milwaukee Brewers’ closer John Axford (of course) just keeps growing and growing – pun intended.
In fact, some national heavy hitters are playing along, too.
One company that’s thrown its weight behind Movember is Giorgio Armani Beauty. Its “Celebrity Makeup Artist,” Tim Quinn, is a testicular cancer survivor and when not making clients like Uma Thurman or January Jones even more beautiful, he’s active in the cancer community.
Quinn has worked extensively with women who have undergone chemotherapy, employing makeup techniques to improve their self-esteem. He’s also supporting his own cancer doctor, Rick Lee, who is participating in Movember for the second year in a row.
“It’s rather amazing that they walk the walk,” says Quinn, who notes that his own physician doesn’t look especially good with a patchy mustache.
“Dr. Lee is so funny. He asked me if he thought he could use mascara to fill in (his mustache) and I said I didn’t think that would work. But the Movember movement is pretty amazing, and we at Armani have been very involved with it because it’s a great campaign.”
Lee, a cancer physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, has joined with his colleagues to grow mustaches, and they’re raising some serious money this month. His team has collected more than $22,000 – and it doesn’t hurt to have a cosmetic powerhouse like Armani standing behind the cause.
“I’m in the follicle-challenged category, but that’s OK,” says Lee. “I drew my inspiration from speaking to one of the founders of Movember. It’s really remarkable how my enthusiasm has grown but it’s much easier to come to work when others are growing mustaches, too.”
Lee says that his patients like the idea of their doctors getting behind the cause.
“They’ve voiced their support,” he says. “They see where a couple of dollars that they donate goes into a much larger pot and gets amplified through their participation. It’s growing in a viral fashion.”
Says Lee, “These men have seen how widespread breast cancer awareness is, and they’re pleased to see that there’s something they can do about (cancers targeting men).”
“Perhaps this will help encourage others to think creatively about fundraising.”