It’s that time of year again. Your guy friends start having more stubble, that one kid seemed to have grown a beard overnight… It can only mean one thing: Movember is here.

While many are more familiar with the “No-Shave November” concept, Movember is a nonprofit campaign that encourages “30 days of action to stop men dying too young.” By growing out their facial hair, men around the world raise awareness for diseases such as testicular cancer and prostate cancer, as well as men’s mental health.

The Movember Foundation began in 2003, when two friends in Australia decided to bring back the moustache trend from decades past. Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery decided to make their facial hair campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer. The original rules were a $10.00 charge to grow a moustache, and they found 30 guys willing to be “Mo Bros.”

The enthusiasm generated by the activity moved Garone and Slattery to formalize the idea. Garden registered a company and created a website, and the men decided to formally support prostate cancer through the campaign. The first benefactor of Movember was the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, and the check was the largest single donation the foundation had received. Over the years, the Movember Foundation grew into an international movement, with official campaigns in 21 countries and the proceeds benefiting over 1,000 men’s health programs. The focus of Movember also expanded to address prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and physical inactivity.

Today, over five million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas support the Foundation, whose vision is “To have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.” Movember raises awareness for the fact that men experience more severe chronic health problems than women, and have a (six year) shorter life expectancy. Prostate cancer rates alone are expected to double in the next 15 years.

The campaign calls people to action, whether it be through monetary donations or growing a moustache to start the conversation. By bringing overlooked issues such as men’s health into the light, the Movember Foundation has kickstarted a global movement and earned a place as one of the top 60 Non-Government Organizations around the world.

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