The word Movember is surprisingly more widely known than you might think, although I’m not sure if that’s purely because of the funny moustaches that sprout every November or because of men’s health issues. But either way, it’s a great thing.
So why did I decide to get involved with Movember? Me, your average Joe Soap? I’m not a sports star nor am I an actor. But I am a son, a brother, a husband, a nephew, a cousin, a father and a bus driver. Like so many families in Ireland, my family has been greatly touched by those dreaded words – The Big C.
Where do I start? Well a few years ago, my uncle passed away with caner and I guess that’s when I started to pay attention, because it wasn’t something that was spoken about in my family. My mum has been diagnosed with leukemia, but thankfully is doing very well and responding to her treatment. My wife’s uncle isn’t as lucky and is terminally ill at present. As if that wasn’t enough, a couple of very good friends of mine were diagnosed with prostate cancer in the past, but luckily they were diagnosed in time, which meant a full recovery – not something everyone is fortunate enough to get. And that’s why I get involved with Movember – to help raise awareness amongst men, and women (or mo sistas as we call them in the office) to encourage their men (mo bros) to get checked.
So now that you know why I got involved, let me tell you what it’s like to be involved. First up, there’s the look my wife gives me when I tell her I’m about to do Movember. It’s a very “iffy” look to say the least. Then she tells me she doesn’t think it will suit me – talk about the kiss of death before I even get started! But she understands why it’s so important to me, and she’s on-board. So with one person in my corner, I feel like Tom Selleck and head to my parents’ house. Now I’m a grown man, but it still stings when my parent’s tell me it will look “awful”. But after a little discussion, everyone’s behind me. And that’s the point – getting people to talk about it. And my children are fantastic in their support, posting pictures on the internet. Then there are your work colleagues who rip the p**s out of you all the time, but in a good way, if that’s possible! And of course I do the same with the other guys taking part. But the passengers make it all worthwhile – they’re so supportive and their encouragement is a great morale booster when you’re feeling low. And the donations they give are amazing – even in these tough times, Irish people dig deep.
My advice for growing a moustache? Be prepared for the itching. It’s relentless. And you have to keep it trimmed, so there’s a lot of work involved. And considering I’m no ‘metro-sexual’, all that grooming is hard work. I’m not used to looking at myself so much in the mirror!
Low point of Movember: My wife telling me she’s not too fond of giving me a kiss goodbye as I head out the door to work.
High point: Knowing that I’m making a difference. With each passenger getting on-board my bus and seeing my (rather ridiculous) moustache, I’m highlighting a really worthwhile cause.
As a result of talking about it, I now go for a medical every year and would advise everyone reading this to do the same – it’s not as scary as you might think, and it could just save your life!