Welcome to a new month and a new moustache, it is the first day of Movember.
Movember begins today where male members, or Mo Bros, traditionally shave their face and start to grow their folical masterpiece over the next 30 days, all to raise awareness about men's health issues.
“During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of mustaches on thousands of men's faces, in the U.S. and around the world,” according to the Movember organization. “With their Mo's (moustaches), these men raise vital awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.”
This year, the Aiken Standard – specifically reporter Mike Gellatly – is teaming up with staff of The Willcox and Steve Hale of HaleStorm communications to bolster a Movember team and the movement in the Aiken area.
The team began last year when Willcox owner Geoffrey Ellis and his staff members came together to start a campaign. The team – Willcox Mo Bros – raised $8,000 last year, and has set a target of $10,000 for 2012.
The funds raised in the United States support prostate cancer and testicular cancer initiatives.
“It's really the only fundraising that's specifically for men's health,” said Ellis, a seven-year Movember veteran. “We have some great efforts for breast cancer in October. ... I think this is a great cause for men's health.”
Ellis has a personal stake in the campaign, as his biological father suffered from prostate cancer. Gellatly has a connection, also, in a personal history with testicular cancer.
While The Willcox team is clean shaven today, Gellatly is not. He sports a full beard more fitting to the stereotype of his Scottish ancestors. Gellatly is a native of Scotland.
“I've been involved in Movember for several years,” he said. “This year, I am sculpting rather than cultivating my 'stache.”
Ellis described Gellatly's twist on the event as “cheating,” because Gellatly is not starting clean shaven, adding that much of the fun of Movember is grown men failing to “cultivate” a full mustache in 30 days.
“I think Mr. Ellis is just jealous that I will have a full, luscious, expertly-shaped mustache come Nov. 30, while he and his staff will look more like someone with mid-'90s 'designer stubble.'”
If you want to have a say in how Gellatly's “Mo” should be sculpted, there is a poll on the Aiken Standard's Facebook page where you can vote for several options or suggest one of your own.
The fun will continue through the end of the month, with The Willcox planning a party.
“We're going to do an end of Movember party here at The Willcox,” Ellis said.
The money is directed to programs run directly by the Movember charity and its men's health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Livestrong Foundation.
“It is just a bit of fun to raise awareness,” Ellis said. “But it is spreading, which means it is working.”
Last year, the team raised a lot of money with friends, family and clients bidding on extending mustache wearing beyond November.
“But then the wives or girlfriends get involved and outbid everyone,” Ellis said.
For more information about the team, visit www.MoBro.co/WillcoxMoBros.