During last month’s company meeting, in the Any Other Business part was mentioned something called Movember. At first I thought this was a spelling mistake and was very close to pointing this typo out. I’m so glad I didn’t.
Having been briefed on what it was, I was sold on the idea immediately. A conversation I’d had with a close friend of mine a number of years ago sprang to mind where we discussed the idea of growing a moustache for charity with much hilarity.
Apparently it takes place every November, but this was the first I’d heard of it. It may have been reasonably big last year but I spend the majority of last November in South East Asia so I wouldn’t have noticed.
Facial hair growth has always been one of my strong points ever since starting to shave when I was eleven. If I have a shave in the morning and want to look sharp in the evening, sometimes a second shave is required before attending that all important soiree.
Movember is all about growing facial hair to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer, with the slogan “to change the face of men’s health”. Having done a bit of research on the what, how and how many factors of prostates and the big C, I was surprised to learn about a part of my body whose function and whereabouts I’d have probably guessed incorrectly. I had heard the shocking statistic about prostate cancer affecting as many men as breast cancer did women, but then again mathematics was always a subject at which I excelled, whereas geography was not.
After no shaving above the upper lip for the first three days of November, I decided to produce a series of increasingly ridiculous photographs to share with my Facebook friends. As well as a number of close up shots showing the development of my ‘tache as it has progressed over time, I decided to have my picture taken in situations like being in the gym, next to a vintage car and on a motorbike. Thus far, the photos have generated much laughter, bewilderment and controversy, which is exactly what I wanted to happen. As a result, some of my friends have agreed to donate some money after I have finished cultivating my masterpiece.
After several days it became apparent that my moustache was going to turn into a bit of a beast, and I was thoroughly enjoying the attention and laughter as well as the awareness and funds that it was generating. I had raised £30 online, but then for a few days nothing happened. Then I realized I could use my CSR day to spend a day raising funds for charity, and knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Having played a series of successful DJ slots at Bestival on the Isle of Wight and the Zombie Walk after party at the Concorde 2 in Brighton among others, I was, no am, on a bit of a roll when it comes to DJing. I’ve recently rediscovered disco music in all its forms, and find its happy vibe and groove irresistible once more.
So I decided to find a pub in Brighton that was supporting Movember and asked if they would be up for allowing me to DJ for nothing, purely to raise money for charity. I knew this wouldn’t be that hard but was amazed when the first pub I went into said yes. This was on the 9th of November. I would need some collection tins so emailed the Movember team to request they send me some. Merely nine days into the month they had run out of tins, which should give you some idea of quite how big it has become. However, they did send me some moustache shaped stickers, which I thought were fantastic.
As the day itself drew nearer I drummed up some support and encouraged people from work to come down to the pub as soon as their working day finished. They arrived in droves and were greeted with myself with a now thick ‘tache wearing a suit jacket, white shirt and silver medallion moving behind my laptop. Stickers were dished out accordingly and people gradually started smiling more and relaxing and enjoying themselves.
My good friend Emily had turned up to show her support, and being the sort of girl who doesn’t take no for an answer, she did a quick whip around of the pub with a collection tin, vastly exceeded my expectations by returning after a few minutes with a heavy bucket containing coins and tins. I also managed to get some funds by going up to groups of people I spotted jigging and singing while a long track was on. This proved successful, but nowhere near as good as the whip around Emily and I had of the pub garden after I had finished playing. In less than five minutes, a load of coins were added to the tin, and when counted up came to an additional fifty pounds. Added to the eighty pounds that had already been raised, the grand total now stood at a sweet £130, and I was delighted. When combined with the £10 that had been left on my desk by another company that work in the same building as I do, the £140 I raised exceeded the £138 I had raised for the RSPCA on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square last year, only this was all in cash and didn’t include any online donations.
It feels good to raise money for charity, but the amount of money raised and the amount of fun I had at this particular event by all who came is something of which I am very proud.
Its not too late to support the SiteVisibility Movember team, visit our team link here: http://uk.movember.com/donate/your-details/team_id/145068/ to help us support men’s health.