This year’s MOvember initiative has already started in earnest across Cayman with men putting away their shave kits and getting in touch with their hirsute selves. Women, too, are very much a part of the month, which raises funds and shines the spotlight on men’s health issues through a number of events. Proceeds are donated to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and other local health agencies that support men’s health awareness including mental health and cancers that impact men, such as prostate and testicular cancer as well as colon and stomach cancer.
MOvember Cayman has raised over $500,000 since its inception in 2005. Through the years they have raised much needed funds to cover men’s cancer education and awareness costs, as well as financial aid for men with cancer. In addition, last year they gave a $100,000 donation to the new chemotherapy unit, which the Cancer Society gave to the Cayman Islands Hospital as a gift. The donation was the largest one in the unit’s fundraising campaign.
Jennifer Weber, operations manager of the Cancer Society said, “[We are] extremely grateful to the MOvember committee volunteers, supporters and moustache growing participants. Every year for over a decade they have raised crucial funds to help us help others.”
“We love that they bring their male perspective and sense of humor to a topic that was previously taboo. Their efforts have made a big difference in Cayman because men are now more willing to hear the early detection message, seek information and get screened.
“In November we focus on our fathers, uncles, husbands, brothers, friends and colleagues and encourage them to take care of themselves.”
To take part and get sponsored by family and friends to grow a ‘tache, sign up by visiting www.movember.ky and the MOvember Cayman Islands Facebook sign up page. Fill in the entry form, take it along to the Cancer Society at 114 Maple Drive (near the Cayman Islands Hospital), along with the $25 registration fee and get a MO T-shirt and sponsorship forms. Women can show their support by buying a MO T-shirt, attending the events and entering the MO Sister category of the close-out event on Nov. 30.
Monies raised are used by the Cancer Society for many types of cancer-related expenditure, including their charity voucher program, which pays for men to get prostate screening tests year round, and direct financial assistance to help cancer patients whose income is impacted due to cancer. Treatment costs and expenses not covered by insurance, such as plane tickets and hotel costs are typical requests.
By way of encouragement, stage 4 stomach cancer survivor “Captain Chuckie” Charles Ebanks said, “If you feel anything funny going on in your body, you got to go and get it checked. My doctor said I had stomach cancer for years before I realized anything was wrong. Go early, don’t wait.”
Mo’Info Health Info Night, Lions Centre, Thursday, Nov. 19, 7-9 p.m.
As well as filling in a simple health form, attendees can have blood taken from an arm. The quick procedure allows the Health Services Authority laboratory to screen the blood work for the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), found in those with prostate cancer.
According to Weber, the PSA testing at the MOvember event generally uncovers one or two undiagnosed cases each year, while the majority of the results come in clear. The guys then get to eat and chat before a hematologist/oncologist specialist from Baptist Hospital gives a talk on men’s health, followed by a question and answer session.
MOPEN, North Sound Golf Course, Friday Nov. 20, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The event tends to be popular and so it is best to book early. This is the fourth year the event has been staged and since it is popular, attendees tend to book tee times early.
Lone Star Bar & Grill, Monday, Nov. 30, 6 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
At the closing event of MOvember Cayman 2015, MO Bros and friends celebrate their achievements, take along their sponsorship money for counting on the evening (they can also pay it online) and can enter the Man of Movember competition for best MO. Judges and the crowd decide the winners of each category who go on to the grand final. The winner of the final earns the Man of Movember 2015 title, the Golden Comb and a year’s bragging rights.
This year, organizers have added two new categories: the Celebrity Mo – for contestants kitted out as their favorite celebrities, and the Classic Mo – where contestants are judged solely on the quality of their unadorned Mos.
Founded by Australian finance worker Tim Rossiter and a group of friends, the first MOvember Cayman raised $500 for the Cancer Society and 21 guys took part. The next year, more than 100 signed up and $20,000 was raised. Every dollar raised stays on-island and the initiative has become a major fundraiser for the Cancer Society.
In 2012, Rossiter was co-opted onto the Cancer Society’s board. He resigned as the MOvember chair this year but is still actively involved.
Of stepping down, Rossiter said, “For me, it feels a bit like when a really great band changes their lead singer. They’re still super-tight, with awesome riffage, a killer backbeat, basslines that break down walls and can still rock the house as good as ever. Yes, MOvember Cayman goes on … It is, in essence, the moustachioed equivalent of AC/DC.”
For additional information, visit www.movember.ky, the Movember Cayman Islands Facebook page or email [email protected]