Tuesday, 30 November 2010

And I thought I'd look like Magnum. Movember all in the name of charity

by Gino De Blasio, Junior Account Manager, Tangerine PR

This is how it should have been, driving a 308, living in Hawaii, looking great

A month ago I ventured into the world of the unknown, grow a moustache for Movember.

Let me explain the first irony and issue of it all. I’m Italian, better yet I’m Neapolitan. And the thing with Neapolitans is, you have facial hair. No matter what age you are, you just have it. Simple as that. You also happen to be relatively short, olive skinned, own a moped and have more girlfriends than hot dinners.

I’m 6’3”, pale white, don’t get anywhere near mopeds because they scare the life out of me, and the girlfriends thing is a messy, touchy subject. Oh, and I don’t grow facial hair – easily.

So when a bunch of friends asked if I fancied doing Movember with them, I thought, how hard can it possibly be?

Itching, scratching and mockery ensued. In my first week I looked like a 14 year old who had their very first facial growth. By the end of my second week, I looked like something from a 1970’s film rouge – apparently. By week number 3 my imitation of Freddie Mercury had an added edge when my lip impedement took a life all of its own, and by week 4 Groucho Marx would have been proud. My favourite comment of the period came from my brother and it went something like this, “If I didn’t know you, I wouldn’t trust you to be around any other human being”. Nice, huh?!

When you are in an office full of women, you start to feel even more self conscious. In meetings I bowed my head a lot more, in one on one conversations my left hand provided good facial shielding and team meetings were a delight when Steve (my boss) asked, “are you actually doing Movember?”

But throughout the tears, mockery and tantrums I remembered the cause. Men’s prostate cancer.

Movember is supported by Everyman and The Prostate Cancer Charity, its purpose, to raise awareness and money of a cancer that kills a man every hour.

A lot of people, myself included thought it only affected the older generations, but it doesn’t, and as a man it’s honestly quite terrifying. And if it’s terrifying to a 28 year old, then you can only begin to imagine the fear that goes through the mind of those who have it.

It is curable. And it’s because of great charities like this, it will be as easy to cure in the future as the common cold.

A personal thanks has to go to everyone that has donated, to my colleagues who held back the mockery and laughter, my friends who left me a 6ft cardboard cut out of Freddie Mercury in my living room and to fellow Movember participants, who, without their participation a lot less would have been raised and a lot more mockery would have come my way.

p.s. If this story has touched you enough to donate, then you can by clicking on this link. Thanks.

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