As the cold New England wind begins to blow, we can all start to see some changes across campus. The leaves turn beautiful warm colors and begin to fall. The annual HBS plague begins sweeping through classrooms in coughing fits. Those from warm climates rush to buy extra Canada Goose jackets to survive. And things start to look a little hairier.
That’s right, Movember is officially back at HBS. For the uninitiated, Movember is a global foundation with one very simple, powerful mission: Stop men from dying too young.
What started as a bar bet between friends in 2003 has grown into a massive Movember of over five million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas raising money and awareness for men’s health. Throughout the month, courageous men will grow a moustache and collect donations that go to fighting critical threats: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.
We face some sobering stats:
- 1 in 6 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, and the rate will double in the next 15 years. Yet when caught early, it can be very treatable. However, most men avoid getting checked out.
- When testicular cancer strikes, it hits young: most men are between the ages 15 and 50. The rate of testicular cancer has already doubled in the last 50 years.
- Three quarters of people that commit suicide are men. Taught our whole lives to “tough it out” and “man up,” men are conditioned not to ask for help. The consequences are devastating.
Last year HBS answered the call to action, and over 150 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas raised over $22,000 for efforts that will work to halve the men dying from these cancers by half by 2030, and reduce the rate of men’s suicides by 25% by the same time.
At HBS we are taught to make a difference in the world. There is a systemic problem of men refusing to take preventative action and ask for help. We can’t be vulnerable. We don’t want to talk about potential health issues. But we can change this. By doing something as simple as growing a mustache, we take a visible and strong stand against these diseases. We make it okay to talk about them. We make it okay for men to reach out for help. And we raise valuable dollars that are going to disease research around the world. Oh, and we also look really, really good with moustaches.
But it’s not just men participating, women are a powerful force in Movember and are encouraged to sign up as Mo Sistas, fundraising and raising awareness for these diseases. These issues don’t occur in isolation and don’t restrict their damage to just men. It’s been proven over and over again that one of the most powerful forces for a man getting help are the women in his life: wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, nieces, or granddaughters.
This year, we have a number of teams set up to defend our crown. Go to the link for your team, join in, create your profile (Mo Page), and then get ready to grow. Throughout the month, stand up to cancer and mental illness. Reach out to friends and family and ask for donations. You will change the narrative, and you will make a difference in the world.
Ready. Set. Mo.
Matt Simpson (HBS ’17) is one of the Joint Chiefs of the Manbassadors at HBS. In addition to discussions of gender equality, you can often find him engaged in deep conversation around the automotive industry and his hometown of Detroit. Previously he was a consultant with Accenture.