We do love a home-grown ‘good luck’ story, specially when it starts in Melbourne.
Ten years ago, a Melbourne hospital missed the fund-raising opportunity of a lifetime.
The men’s health charity Movember, which started in a Fitzroy bar as a challenge among mates to grow the best moustache, has raised $440 million and spread to 21 countries.
In 2003 after a night out, Travis Garone had seen the hospital’s predawn TV ad calling for men to have their prostate checked.
In the traditional response to hints of rectal examination, Garone thought it hilarious. Then he Googled ‘‘ prostate cancer’ ’ and stopped laughing. He discovered it was the second most common cause of male cancer deaths and that early check-ups can save lives.
At Brunswick Street’s Gypsy Bar, now the Rum Diary Bar, Garone and friend Luke Slattery decided, for Garone’s 30th birthday that November, to challenge each other to grow the best moustache and end with a vote at a party. Slattery, then a sales rep for skateboard products, suggested they call the event Movember.
Garone says he twice rang the hospital behind the prostate cancer ad, offering it proceeds of fundraising but was rejected.
Instead, he and 30 mates had a fantastic night at a city bar, comparing their wonderful mo’s .
It was Garone’s brother, Adam, who saw that Travis and Slattery were onto something, and convinced the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia to adopt the nutty idea. The following year, the Garone brothers, Slattery and friend Justin Coghlan started a campaign to have the public sponsor men to grow moustaches in November, with the emphasis on imitating the looks of cricketers Dennis Lillee or Merv Hughes.
The 450 mo-growers raised $54,000, for the foundation. The following year’s tally, $1.2 million, was the largest single donation the PCFA had ever received.
It’s hoped the 2013 Movember next month will top last year’s 1.13 million participants who raised $141 million for prostate cancer and mental health causes. This year, Movember will support testicular cancer charities for the first time. Adam Garone is now Movember’s chief executive, based in Los Angeles. There are also offices in London and Toronto, and the head office in Melbourne, with a total of 100 paid employees.
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia chief executive Anthony Lowe says Movember has raised $35 million for his organisation, funding 136 scientific research programs , an exercise program that has gone global, and a pilot program of 13 prostate cancer nurses.
Bristling with success: from a Fitzroy bar to Movember
Source: TheAge | Carolyn Webb
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