John Dykstra ‘13 – Wabash men have been encouraged to promote awareness of men’s cancers by not shaving their facial hair this Movember.
Movember is a global health campaign in which men sport facial hair and raise money to fund research on prostate cancer. The Movember Foundation’s goals are to support survivorship, increase awareness and education for male health risks, and influence a positive change in men’s health.
Director of Public Affairs Jim Amidon is a survivor of bladder cancer. He was first diagnosed at age 34. He said he has never gone three days without shaving and has used his unkempt facial hair to educate people about bladder cancer.
“I want people to ask me,” Amidon said. “I want people to say, ‘Jim, you look like hell,’ and to tell them why I am doing this. That’s why I wanted to do it. I have probably talked more about bladder cancer in the past five days than I have in the last five years. People can learn a bit and maybe some of the guys who started smoking in college will quit. That is a win.”
Amidon shared his experience with cancer and provided health suggestions to the Wabash community through an email sent by Sphinx Club President Tyler Wade. He advocated increasing education on cancer and having regular check-ups.
“Since [Movember] is about raising awareness and educating the community, know these things: Bladder cancer hits men three times more often than women, and there are approximately 70,000 new cases each year (15,000 deaths),” he said. “People who have had bladder cancer are exceptionally likely to have recurrences—I’ve had surgery to remove bladder cancer tumors four times in the last dozen years. Staying current on regular internal exams is critical—in my case each new tumor was found early and removed within weeks of my diagnosis.”
The Movember Foundation has funded mustache competitions throughout the world. At the beginning of the month, Hampden-Sydney College of Virginia and Morehouse College of Georgia, both all-male campuses, challenged Wabash to a mustache competition. The winner of the competition will receive a travelling trophy. Tyler Wade announced the competition to the student body on October 31.
“Success in this competition will accomplish several goals—the most significant one being raising awareness of and funds for fighting cancers that affect men; another being winning a traveling trophy sponsored by the Deans of Students of each institution; and also furthering campus camaraderie and unity,” Wade said. “We Wabash Men thrive on the challenges of stiff competition—whether it is from our sister institutions or cancer and I am sure you will rise to the challenge!
“At the end of the month we will do a great counting of moustaches, and will be successful based off the percentage of participation in the College community. So start growing those moustaches! Not only will we beat the Dannies, but we’ll further solidify our argument that we are the nation’s premier COLLEGE FOR MEN!”
Wabash’s Bell Week tradition the Monon Mustache competition suits the Movember campaign. Wednesday night, men flaunted their mustaches in front of Dr. Blix and other judges.
Josh Manker ’14 started growing a beard during the soccer team’s preseason. After Wabash’s loss against DePauw, he shaved it into a mustache. He has enjoyed the support from the Wabash community.
“We should be aware of how cancer affects males,” Manker said. “It’s kind of like our way of protesting at an all-male college. People around campus support me having a mustache because it’s not only Bell Week but also Movember. Having a mustache is our way of wearing pink.”
Sphinx Club member Daniel Lesch corresponded Wednesday evening’s event. He emphasized how the Monon Mustache symbolizes virility and related the competition to Movember.
“The Monon Mustache competition and Movember are both meant to unite the campus in a way that is uniquely masculine,” Lesch said. “The Monon Mustache competition is a lighthearted competition held during Bell Week each year that is meant to bring the campus together in support of Wabash’ athletic teams against the DePauw Dannies. Movember exists to provide solidarity and support for men fighting cancer. So, if you want to defeat Dannies, cancer, or both, grow a mustache and join the movement!”
Last year, the Movember Foundation raised 80.7 million dollars globally—7.5 million was raised in the United States—through 447,831 Mo Bros and Sistas. The Foundation’s website explained that Mo Bros are men who participate by growing mustaches and raising money; Mo Sistas are wives who support their husbands and also raise money.
The Foundation considers mustaches a “walking, talking billboard” that makes people more aware of men’s health and cancers that affect males.
“Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November,” the Movember Foundation website said. “Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.”
Wabash Men have an opportunity to contribute to fighting male health concerns by participating in Movember. The travelling trophy is an added bonus and campus unity is apparent every year through the Monon Mustache competition. Men, continue flaunting your mustaches beyond the Bell Game for the sake of promoting men’s health.