An Australian-bred campaign to increase awareness of men’s health issues has come to Lakeville’s Police Department.
“Movember” is a play on “mo,” Australian slang for “mustache” and the month chosen to celebrate the initiative. Men build awareness by growing mustaches and raising money to fund efforts to mitigate cancer and other men’s health issues.
It all started when Jim Dronen, a Lakeville officer, brought the idea to Police Chief Tom Vonhof.
It was personal for Dronen. His father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September, and his father-in-law was diagnosed with esophageal and liver cancer in March.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find someone not affected,” Dronen said. “One of our (police reserve officers), he said both his father and grandfather passed away in their 60s due to cancer.”
This is the first year the police department is participating. Almost 30 people volunteered to grow mustaches (or shave off existing facial hair and start over) to raise money.
Vonhof, himself known for his prominent mustache, said he was pleased to allow his department to participate.
“It’s a great cause,” he said.
Dronen said he expects to see a number of different mustache types.
“One person is planning on looking like General (Robert E.) Lee,” he said.
Dronen has had a full goatee for about four years, but he shaved it all off on Halloween night to prepare.
By the time this story went to press Nov. 14, the bulk of his goatee made a return appearance.
Movember is not just about funding cancer research, though. It is also about raising awareness.
Early detection of cancers can improve the odds of survival, but there is a challenge when it comes to men and doctor’s visits.
“Men are not as smart about (regular doctor’s visits) as women are,” Dronen said.
There are two ways to give. One is to go to the police department’s official Movember page. There you can donate money and follow the officers’ mustache progress. So far the team has received almost $900 in donations online.
Another method is to donate in person at the police station. That money goes directly to the Mayo Clinic to support cancer research, Dronen said.
Movember got its start in 2004 in Melbourne, Australia, and has since had about 2 million participants in at least a dozen countries. About $126 million has been raised, according to the organization.