He wore shiny black dress shoes, dark pressed pants, and a black velvet blazer. He carried an umbrella cane in one hand and a glass of neat scotch in the other. However, it was his handlebar mustache that made him intimidate. Josiah Anderson was one of the competitors in the Handlebar’s 4th Annual Mustache and Beard Competition in Austin, Texas on Nov. 30. This competition, among other November events, like the Mustache Dache, is just one of several ways people bring awareness to the Movember movement.
November has become famous as the ‘No Shave November’ month. The Movember movement embodies four facets of men’s health: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and physical fitness. Many men participate to pay tribute to those they lost from the disease by growing out their mustaches and raising money for the cause.
“After my grandpa died, I swore that I’d grow out a mustache forever…In Puerto Rico, having a mustache signified maturity and is the signature of a man. My Grandpa would have been proud. Our culture meant the world to him. I’m doing this for him and the battles he went through in war and in his battle with cancer,” said Anderson.
Anderson has traveled from Los Angeles to compete in multiple mustache competitions. He has won national competitions across the U.S. The proceeds from Handlebar’s competition go to the winners. Anderson donated his prize money to the Movember Foundation.
The Movember Foundation, a global charity, has raised $650 million and funded 1,000 projects since 2003 for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical activity.
On a local scale, smaller organizations have also made a big difference. The Intra-fraternal Council at University of Texas at Austin organizes many events over the course of November to raise money. UT’s Movember campaign raised $30,462 last year, according to President Lee Lueder.
“I never thought this would happen to me…It felt like a bad dream that I couldn’t wake up from. I never got that “cancer” realization where everything comes into perspective, but I do know that I am lucky to have caught it in the early stages. I’m one of the lucky ones and I can’t believe that at this age…at 22… I would have to go through something like chemo and radiation treatments. I had a lot of support though, and can report now that I am cancer free and in remission,” said Alex Howard.
Alex Howard graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014. At the beginning of July he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He was officially cancer free and in remission by the end of November.
The students also encourage involvement in other events not affiliated with the Movember campaign. The Mustache Dache is a mustache-themed 5k running series that occurs all over the country. It is a for profit event that partners with ZERO charity, a national nonprofit organization with a mission to end prostate cancer.
“We do this every year, I think it’s a great cause. I don’t think a lot of men know how to show support for one another publicly, especially for something like men’s health. There is definitely a stigma with sharing a cause that deals with testicular and prostate cancer. Breast cancer gets a lot of publicity by women, but this time it’s time to focus on Men’s health and how we can improve it as well. It’s important we do, because all cancer is bad and it effects everyone,” said running participant, Shannon Barron.
(CLICK THE MUSTACHE ICON ON AUSTIN,TX TO SEE VIDEO)
Out of every entry fee in the Mustache Dache, two dollars are donated to ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer charity. All proceeds in Zero Charity go to Advocacy and Government Relations, Research, Early Detection, and Awareness and Education for Prostate cancer.
“People think that this can’t happen to you, and that we are invincible. You may raise money for cancer and try and increase awareness, but you never know how important those things are until it happens to you. The money and support from these organizations quite literally save your life, and I’m glad that people of all ages, especially twenty year olds, are passionate about this cause,” said Howard.