By Mark Stubis, Human & Environmental Welfare Columnist
(HealthNewsDigest) — Here today, gone tomorrow. Unfortunately, when it comes to cancer, the old saying is all too often true. But now a growing number of American men are seeking to change that, at least in regard to one common cancer. The motto of this sometimes scruffy-looking but well-intended group might better be characterized as, “Hair today, here tomorrow.”
While on a run in New York’s Central Park, two friends, Ryan Hutto & Tom Murphy, were talking about an annual charity event started in Australia, “Movember,” which raises awareness for men’s health issues by encouraging men to sport the male equivalent of pink ribbons – moustaches – during the month of November. In a flash of inspiration, they decided to launch an American counterpart called MANuary. Held in (you guessed it) January, this Yankee adaptation aims to educate the public about prostate cancer and raise money to fight this deadly killer.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one in six men will be affected by prostate cancer. Nearly two million Americans are now living with the disease. More than 200,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and some 30,000 will die from the disease. Overall, it ranks as the most common non-skin cancer.
As with other cancers, the greatest enemy is lack of awareness. More regular testing increases early detection of potential problems and saves lives. If caught in the local and regional stages, the cure rate for prostate cancer is very high with nearly 100 percent of patients disease-free after five years.
Hence the birth of MANuary with its nobly hirsute aims to gain attention for the cause.
Like the nation’s facial hair this month, the movement is growing. The MANuary Charity Facebook page is gaining new friends each day, while fund-raising events such as SOS (Sponsor Our Stache) and moustache contests are springing up along with cause-related support from around the nation. Bonobos, an online men’s clothing store, is celebrating the month with a new line of MANuary products, with 20 percent of total sales donated to the cause. Well-known jewelry designer Julia Failey is giving 100 percent net proceeds from sales of her customized MANuary cufflinks, each of which features a natty moustache worthy of a Victorian gentleman (or Snidely Whiplash). Links to supporting partners can be found on the MANuary Charity Facebook site.
“MANuary has raised over $100,000 so far and we expect to raise another $30,000 this year,” said concept co-creator Tom Murphy. “The money is contributed directly to the Prostate Cancer Foundation to aid its progress in the fight against prostate cancer. And equally important, MANuary is getting people to talk about the issue, greatly increasing awareness of the disease.”
In the end, growing a moustache might be just the way for millions of men to avoid a close shave.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED/LEARN MORE:
• Grow a moustache
• Learn more about MANuary events at facebook.com/MANuaryCharity and http://twitter.com/MANuaryCharity
• Learn more about prostate cancer or support research by going to the Prostate Cancer Foundation website: www.pcf.org
• Get a prostate exam!
Mark Stubis is a national nonprofit, healthcare and media executive with more than 20 years of experience working with leading charities, Fortune 500 companies, and global news organizations. An award-winning creator of public-issue awareness and prevention campaigns, Stubis’ work has been carried by more than 100,000 newspapers, TV and radio stations, and websites in 100 countries around the world. In his free time, the Juilliard-trained musician plays the piano and chess at his castle in the New York City area. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .