There are five rules when it comes to growing a Movember moustache to fight prostate cancer, testicular cancer and to promote men’s health and suicide prevention.
They include registering on movember.com and growing a moustache in November.
The most important rule, however, might be Rule No. 4 which states – ‘Use the power of the moustache to create conversation and raise funds for men’s health.’
“This year, there is a bigger emphasis on men’s mental health and suicide prevention,” said Dr. Mark Dickson in Tillsonburg, who is growing his fifth Movember moustache. “So the family and I, we are trying to complete 60 kilometres of walking throughout the month. Every other night or so, the family and I get together, we get our strollers out, and even if it’s raining or snowing, we still try to do a 2-3 km walk.”
Globally, it has been reported on the Movember website that 60 men suicide every hour.
“Pretty much every minute… a man will commit suicide,” said Dickson. “It’s quite a sad thing. So that’s where they came up with the idea – let’s try to encourage people to be active and complete 60 km throughout the month to help raise awareness of this issue. For people who do have depression or anxiety, just getting out and going for a walk can be therapeutic. So that’s another factor that plays into it – let’s get people walking, exercising, and that can help with mental health.”
As of Sunday the Dickson family had raised $966, nearly midway to his goal of $2,000.
“We’re just over the halfway mark now, it’s coming along,” said Dickson on Monday morning. “Usually the last week, week-and-a-half, that’s when a lot of the donations come in, so we’re just about on track right now.”
Not only are they trying something different with the walking, Dickson is growing a different moustache style this year inspired by stunt driver Duke Caboom, a character from Toy Story 4, one of his children’s favourite movies.
“I’m going for more of an edgy look. For the past four years I’ve done the standard moustache, and this… is like a horseshoe moustache, kind of like a Hulk Hogan moustache. The kids love the Duke Caboom character and we have the toys at home, so that inspired me this year to grow my moustache like that.”
A year older since his last Movember campaign, the young children – Josie and Thomas – are beginning to understand he is fundraising, that people are supporting him through donations, and that he is talking more about men’s health.
“Instead of just the moustache, they are learning that ‘Dad is trying to do something different to raise awareness to help other men who are sick.'”
The new moustache is still a work in progress, he said, but it is starting to look better.
“Usually my wife (Anna) is a bit apprehensive when I grow a moustache, but this year she is more supportive… she’s accepting it more – a new trendier look.”
It’s been a tradition for Dickson to shave his moustache when the Movember campaign ends, and that tradition will continue. This year, he’s thinking of a pre-shave photo to create a Hulk Hogan look complete with sunglasses and bandanna if he completes his $2,000 goal.
“The reason why I do it every year is to help get men talking more about mental health. For a lot of men, they don’t like to talk about when they are not feeling well, or feeling depressed or sick. When things like this are left without attention, that’s when things can get a lot worse. With prostrate cancer, if you don’t get checked early and you have it for a long period of time, you’re survival rate really drops down. So by getting men to talk about their health, to be comfortable and have a safe place to do that, that’s one of the biggest focuses. Prevention is key.”
Donations can be made to Dickson through the Movember website. The ‘donate’ icon is on the top right. Click, then search for Mark Dickson. Then click on the ‘Donate to Me’ icon.
You can also make cash donations to Dickson, who will process the donation online for you.
“It is through a charity so you will receive an income tax receipt for the donation.”
Dickson has many ‘regular’ Movember contributors, but each year new people also step forward to donate, people who have just learned of Movember or that Dickson is participating.
“Meeting new people all the time,” Dickson nodded. “This year I’ve been talking more about the mental health aspects, educating patients about signs and what to look for, and just being out in public meeting new people at different events. It helps spread the word.”
Dickson took ‘spreading the word’ to a new level on the weekend attending a live recording session in Toronto for CBC’s Canadian Family Feud, which debuts Dec. 16.
“My hope was to potentially get the moustache on TV to help raise awareness. I did tell the producers there that I was growing a moustache and this is to help support men’s health.”
There are no guarantees, but the Dicksons were front row centre in the audience.
“We have potential,” Dickson laughed. “Just trying to get more awareness out there.”