'Hairy' revolution returns with the 'bad boys' of charity

'Hairy' revolution returns with the 'bad boys' of charity

SINGAPORE - The 'bad boys' of the charity world came back for a 'hairy' revolution with the second edition of Movember, an annual initiative to raise funds and awareness for men's health and issues.

Supported locally by celebrity Paul Foster, urban artist Samantha Lo, and the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS), the month-long charity drive encourages men to support the cause by growing a Mo (a slang for moustache).

The men, or 'Mo Bros', will then pledge for the movement and help raise funds by seeking out sponsorships and advocating the initiative's message, spreading the word on the less-spoke about men's health issues like prostate cancer and depression. Bringing in social media to spread their message, the Mo Bros also documented their progress on their own 'Mo-space' at sg.movember.com.

Movember, an international charity drive held across the month of November, aims to change the existing habits and attitudes men have about their health, and to educate them on the risks and prevention methods. Through the initiative, Movember hopes to increase the chances of early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment of male-related diseases.

The funds raised in the charity drive will be distributed towards SCS's areas of awareness and education, survivourship and research.

According to Greg Rafferty, country manager of Movember Asia Pacific, almost 600 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in Singapore, and over 115 cases are fatal. With the Movember initiative, Rafferty hopes to increase awareness and action, and ultimately, save lives.

Movember ambassador and actor Paul Foster said that it's common knowledge for men not to talk about their health issues as openly as women do. With Movember, it gives men a creative platform to bring out these issues and also build camaraderie.

Last year, 2,088 people in Singapore raised $743,000 for men's health, an amount which made Singapore tops around the world in terms of funds raised per person, said Rafferty.

The Movember idea started in 2003 by brothers Adam and Travis Garone, and their friend Slattery. They decided to gather 30 friends to grow out their moustache as a fashion statement.

Realising how much fun it was, the brothers and their friends decided to turn it into a charitable endeavour. Taking lead from the women around them who were taking action for breast cancer, the men decided to raise awareness for prostate cancer. The moustache turned into the male version of the pink ribbon, the symbol for breast cancer awareness.

Movember is now the largest independent funder for prostate cancer with official campaigns in 21 countries including Ireland, Australia and South Africa. Singapore and Hong Kong are the current Asian representatives of the movement.

Donations can be made here sg.movember.com

wjeanne@sph.com.sg

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