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Movember at Melton
One in eight Australian men experiences depression at any given time.
One in two Australian men will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
Nearly two thirds of Australia’s population is overweight, with men more likely to be overweight or obese than women.
They’re the frightening statistics the members of the Melton Fire Brigade are trying to bring to the fore as part of Men’s Health Month, more commonly known as Movember.
Started in 2003 by 30 friends getting together to grow moustaches in Melbourne, the Movember Foundation is the leading global organisation committed to changing the face of men’s health, achieved by challenging men to grow moustaches during Movember to spark conversation and raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.
Since 2003, the Movember Community has raised $580mil and has funder more than 800 programs to date, in 21 countries. This work is saving and improving the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.
Men and women sign up to movember.com to grow or support a moustache. Men start on November 1 clean-shaven and grow their moustache for 30 days, getting friends, family and colleagues to donate to their moustache-growing efforts.
This year, the Melton Fire Brigade put together a team to raise money for Movember, by growing their mos. But these “Mo Bros” had an added incentive to raise money.
Raise more than $1000, and Leading Firefighter Reg Stott would shave his Mo he has been growing since he was 17 years old.
“I started growing the moustache when I was in the Army back in ’87,” explains Reg. “My wife Julie and Kids, Harry and Emily have never seen me clean-shaven. After 19 years of marriage, my wife didn’t know I had dimples under the Mo. Even my daughter made me a stick-on moustache to wear around the house because she wasn’t used to seeing me without it.
“Men’s Health is very close to me after losing my best mate earlier this year to bowel cancer, and I have another good friend battling depression. We’ve also had members of the brigade battle through prostate cancer. A lot of people wanted to see me lose the Mo after all these years, so raising money for a great cause was worth the cold top lip.”
Qualified Firefighter Christian Owens, 38, is also another member who is raising the much need funds by growing the fuzz. But it has added meaning this year.
“I was diagnosed just over twelve months ago with prostate cancer,” explains Christian. “I still go and have monthly check-up’s now, just to keep an eye on everything.
“I implore everyone to go and have a check-up with their family doctor once a year for a ‘grease-and-oil change’. Men need to take greater ownership of their health. People don’t realise that prostate cancer is more prevalent than breast cancer in women, but we men tend to ignore things a lot more. Take heed of the signs.
“Being only relatively new to Melton, after I was diagnosed I wanted to keep it quiet. But once it got out there, the support from both staff and volunteers was phenomenal. People say anecdotally that CFA is a family. I didn’t realise it was so close until this happened.”
To date, Melton Fire Brigade has raised aver $1600 for Movember. But it’s not over yet. More funds need to be raised before the Mo’s go into hiding for another 12 months. If you would like to donate to this very worthwhile cause for men’s health, make sure you look up ‘Melton Fire Station’ on the Movember website.
The last words from Christian: “Please go and see your family doctor for that yearly checkup. It’s not as invasive as what people think. It’s for your, family, and friend’s piece of mind. CFA have the Healthy for Life Program which is designed to monitor the health of CFA members and their families, enquire with them, but please, I implore everyone, do not ignore the signs”.
For more information on Men’s Health, you can find information at:
Or look on CFAOnline under the Health and Welfare tab at the top of the page.
Or see your trusted family doctor.
Pictures by Blair Dellemijn – CFA Photographer.