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Beating Cancer One Shave at a Time

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The month of living shaggily

What’s the difference between Movember and No Shave November?



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As a month with two different facial hair-related fundraisers, November can be a confusing time. Luckily, we have the lowdown on the two different movements and some history on how they came about.

If everything is going to plan for some men, they should be looking pretty scruffy right about now, with new facial hair rendering their usually smooth visage into more handsome, rakish versions of themselves. The version of themselves they might envision in a men’s cologne ad. It’s because it’s Movember or, wait, it could also be because it’s No Shave November. What does it all mean?    

A tale of two charities

No Shave November and Movember are different things, though they have similar goals and share some common approaches. They’re both nonprofits dedicated to raising money for cancer research and they both espouse some level of abandonment of razors for the month of November. They sound like the same thing, right? Well not quite, as it turns out.    

The Movember story

The Movember Foundation’s roots are in Melbourne, Australia, and the organization began when a group of friends had the idea at a bar. “Mo” is short for moustache in Australia. In 2003, mates Travis Garone and Luke Slattery were having a quiet beer and pondering the plight of the modern moustache: Where had it gone? Where were the Tom Selleck and Burt Reynolds soup strainers of yore in 2003? They decided to have a growing competition for the month of November and 30 of their friends joined in. The next year, they went for it again, but this time with the goal of raising money for prostate cancer research.

Their reach was larger too, and ultimately 450 of what they were now calling Mo Bros raised $41,300, all of which went to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. It was the largest single donation that the organization had ever received. By the third year of the event in 2005, Slattery and Garone could see they were tapping into some serious zeitgeist with almost 10,000 participants who’d now managed to raise $921,044. The Movember Foundation was launched as an official Australian charity and has continued to grow, championing men’s health issues like prostate and testicular cancer, as well as mental health. Movember’s 2016 campaign raised $61.1 million with 325,000 participants all over the world.   

No Shave November

After husband and father Matthew Hill died of colon cancer in 2007, his family established the Matthew Hill Foundation and No Shave November in 2009 in the outskirts of Chicago, USA. While Movember’s hair growth mission is strictly about moustaches as a form of lip-based billboard about men’s health, No Shave November wants participants to grow whatever they can. That includes moustaches, beards, head and leg hair, as the case may be. The idea is to embrace your hirsute side in a nod to the fact that many cancer patients lose their hair during chemo treatments. Participants are then encouraged to donate the savings costs from these absent grooming practices towards charitable donations.

No Shave’s fundraising beneficiaries aren’t strictly men’s health issues. Many other cancer research organizations, as well as St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, are also supported. In 2016, No Shave November raised more than $2 million. Of interesting note: This year’s leaderboard at No Shave features several different American police departments.   

Picking one

So if you’re in a pickle, trying to determine which nonprofit you’d like to avoid shaving for the most, consider these facts: The Movember Foundation is dedicated to stopping men from dying too early. Men die an average of six years before women. Movember is also a large, multinational organization. No Shave November is more of a United States-based entity, with less of a focus purely on men’s health, but on cancer in general. It manages to complete its philanthropic mission with a respectable 89 percent of funds raised going towards the beneficiaries and research.  


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2018 © DHL. All rights reserved.

2018 © DHL. All rights reserved.