By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN It was “Movember” at Dassel-Cokato High School as teachers and students joined in the effort to raising awareness for men’s health last month by growing or attempting to grow a moustache.
What has become a global men’s health movement was begun in 2003, by a couple of guys in Melbourne, Australia.
The idea was inspired by the women in their lives, who promoted breast cancer awareness, realized that, they, too, could raise awareness for men’s health. To do so, they would bring back the moustache for a comical conversation starter during the month of November.
Since then, the movement has spread worldwide and in addition to raising awareness, it has become a fundraising campaign benefiting the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
In 2009, the campaign raised $42 million. This year, the numbers have surpassed that, with more than $51 million raised in “Movember.”
Raising awareness beyond the classroom
To bring men’s health awareness to Dassel-Cokato High School students, Amanda Berg, physical education instructor, challenged her sports officiating class to join in “Movember.”
At the time the challenge began, the class was in its hockey unit and heard of the Minnesota Wild’s Movember goal of breaking the Guinness World Record by having the largest gathering of moustaches in one place. The gathering took place at the Xcel Energy Center Nov. 26 with more than 1,100 men. Though documentation and evidence is in review, the record to beat was 151 moustaches in one place, according to KARE 11’s David Watkins.
The goal at the high school was to get 75 staff and students to participate in growing a ‘stache for the month.
Also, each student in Berg’s class had to learn a fact about men’s health and about the “Movember” campaign.
Senior Emily Horrmann was the only girl in the class, and although she couldn’t participate in Movember by growing facial hair, she did try to encourage her male classmates to “grow and sport a ‘stache.”
In the end, about 20 men were in on it, including DC staff. Each of the participants recieved a razor and shaving cream for helping to raise awareness.
With the main objective of the moustache being a conversation starter about men’s health, participant and high school media specialist Paul Beckermann said, “It did work.”
Beckermann doesn’t typically sport facial hair, he said, and therefore was asked dozens of times what was on his face and why he decided to grow a moustache.
This was the first year of the “Movember” campaign at DC, and Berg would like to see it become a tradition at the high school.
Since the project this year was not introduced until a week into the month, Berg plans to start “Movember” earlier next year. She also anticipates there will be greater participation since more people have become aware of the campaign.
To learn more about the worldwide “Movember” campaign and how to donate, visit http://usmovember.com.