Movember & Me

— Dustin Finkle, Project Director

It’s antiquated, slightly repulsive, and gangly at times. Yet dignified, bold, and a conversation starter. Unfortunately, a conversation ender, as well.

It’s got a hairy history, and yes, I’m referring to Movember mustaches.

Each November, many guys take part in growing hair on their upper lip for a cause. It’s called Movember, and like the mustaches, it has taken on a life of its own. First started in 2004 by the Movember Foundation, the movement’s sole purpose was to raise funds to go towards the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Now, it’s the only nonprofit raising awareness for men’s health globally — prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention.

It’s not easy asking your friends and coworkers to take part in a month-long, ‘let’s grow a mustache and ask our mates and family for donations.’ I know my mom detests it and prefers me to shave for holiday photographs that she will send out to family. “Why did you have to grow it now?” she asks.

Because I want to make a difference, no matter how big or small the donations that I receive. Because I want to help an organization that is determined to help curb cancer.

Because it’s a gentle reminder to check in with myself regarding my own health, too.

Who knows. Perhaps one day, I’ll be afflicted with something that the Movember Foundation has funded research for, and I’ll be eternally grateful for the research.

This year, I’m proud to say that six of my hairy coworkers joined in the fun. Two in Sydney, and four in San Francisco. Together, we formed team Campaign Monitor and did whatever we could to help raise a few bucks. We sent emails, social posts, and my favorite — we hosted a happy hour where we served drinks with all the tips going to the Movember Foundation.

When all was said and done, together we raised $2,771. Not bad for six guys who lost their razors for a month.

Money aside, we had a great time. And we banded together knowing how much some of our friends found our upper lips amazing or disgusting, but at least intriguing. We would smile at each other in the hallway whenever we passed one another because it felt good knowing we were in this together.

Now, I need to go shave. But I’m doing it with a touch of sadness. I’ve grown accustomed to my new little friend, Moustachio, and the gentle reminder it provided me about my health.

Thanks for reading and until next year.