Movember: More than a Mustache
By Dylan Conover
For the Loyola men’s volleyball team, the month of November is more than a time to practice its sport and enjoy the fall weather. For the team, November is a time to fundraise with facial hair, all in the name of men’s cancer awareness.
The team participates in the “Movember” campaign, an initiative founded in 2003 by two men sitting at a bar in Australia. The men thought there should be a way for men to spread awareness for men’s cancer victims and survivors, similar to the recognizable pink attire of the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer awareness. Although only around for less than 15 years, the Movember movement has grown into an organization with millions of participants annually, raising nearly $750 million in the process.
The Ramblers got involved in the movement because one of their own, Owen McAndrews – now an alum – was himself a testicular cancer survivor in high school. It was personal for the team, having a teammate with a sickness that will plague 40 percent of men in their lifetimes. Head coach Mark Hulse said McAndrews was the driving force between Loyola’s joining of the campaign.
“When he came on [the team] it was kind of a fun thing to do. He pitched it to us,” said Hulse. “We jumped on board and we had the whole administration doing it … It was fun, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”
Many of the men participating in Movember will grow their mustaches with no concern for public opinion. Junior libero Jake Selsky prides himself on his mustache-growing ability, but said not everyone in his family was completely in favor of the month long facial hair.
“I grow a pretty good [mustache],” said Selsky. “My mom didn’t really care, it was more my sisters and my friends who didn’t like it… my girlfriend didn’t like it.”
Hulse said that you can tell the team is dedicated to the cause because none of them are afraid of how they look for the holidays. For Hulse, Movember has impacted the way his extended family views him, but it is all worth it because of the discussion it starts and the awareness it brings.
“Movember falls with Thanksgiving,” Hulse said. “Minus my wedding, I have never met my in-laws without a … pretty awful mustache. The whole organization, Movember.com, is about raising awareness as much as anything, and so it’s a little bit of both. I think we’ve raised … around [$20,000] in the years we’ve done it … But as much as anything it’s about the conversation.”
Many roll their eyes, but the team is not afraid to stand out for the cause they it supports. Until there is a cure, the Ramblers will continue to grow their mustaches, and spread the message of Movember.