Female Calgarians getting involved in Movember fundraiser

Just because you can’t physically grow a moustache doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy one.

 The Movember fundraiser involves men growing moustaches to raise money and awareness about prostate cancer. Started in Australia in 2003, it has been growing in support and popularity every year since, but has always focused primarily on men and men’s health.

Now, women are beginning to take more of an initiative to get in on the fun.

Amber Craig, who is in charge of social media for the local Movember Calgary branch of the larger Movember Canada organization, says that women can get involved in the cause in more ways than simply growing stylized facial hair.Just because ladies can’t grow a moustache doesn’t mean that they can’t get involved with Movember.

Photo by: Derek Neumeier

“On the Movember website, females can join a team or start their own team,” she said. “Even though females can’t physically partake in the Movember actions of growing a moustache, they can still help by fundraising and letting people know about it.”

This is Craig’s first year helping to organize the fundraiser, but she became involved last year by helping convince male co-workers to participate. She says she likes Movember not just because of the novelty of seeing men with moustaches, but because it’s a worthwhile cause.

“I think it’s a really unique way of raising awareness,” she said. “There’s a lot of attention brought to breast cancer every year. There are various events for that, and this seems to be the biggest push for prostate cancer right now.

“I think it’s really important that people get involved with it because it is a very common problem right now.”

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among Canadian men, affecting one in seven, according to Prostate Cancer Canada.

Kendra Muller, another organizer within the Movember Calgary committee, joined because she believes women are also heavily affected by the disease, and can help the fight in their own ways.

“I’ve got a dad, I’ve got a brother, I’ve got a fiancé; I’ve got many significant men in my life that I’m concerned about and want to make sure that they’re healthy,” she said. “It’s about encouraging those types of people to get checked and to take preventative measures that they might not normally take.”

Aside from support through organizing and fundraising, Muller said women also play an integral role through emotional support.

“I think that people naturally assume a moustache can’t be sexy, and I beg to differ,” she said. “I absolutely think that moustaches can be sexy and that us just encouraging guys to grow them, regardless of how pathetic so to speak some of them can be, is a big part of it.”

“We’re the ones that have to kiss those scruffy lips for the whole month. Being there to help them out and encourage them and cheer them on is definitely helpful for them.”

Photo by: Derek NeumeierCraig agrees with Muller’s sentiment about the positive feedback from men.

“From the experience I’ve had with guys that I work with or are friends with, they absolutely love that women are getting involved with it,” she said.

“It gives them a sense of support in what they’re doing. It’s not easy for everyone to grow a moustache, sometimes people have a really sad one, or it looks pretty greasy, but I think from the experiences I’ve had with people that are involved with it that they really appreciate what women do to help them out during that month.”

Expect to see a lot of moustaches this November. According to the Movember Canada website, Canada alone raised $22.3 million in 2010, and that number is projected to increase this year.

dneumeier@cjournal.ca