Male physical therapy students challenged to grow moustaches

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two West Virginia University physical therapy students are challenging their male classmates to grow moustaches this month to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer. The moustache themed project called Movember is part of an annual worldwide campaign that has raised millions of dollars since its inception in an effort to reduce the number of prostate cancer deaths. 

“October is widely known as breast cancer awareness month and promotes women’s health; we wanted to designate November as Movember to draw attention to men’s health,” said Laura Donahoe, who, along with Jessica Link, spearheaded the Movember campaign at WVU.

Donahoe and Link have a strong interest in working in the expanding field of oncology survivorship and rehabilitation to help decrease the long-term and short-term negative effects of cancer treatment.
“I also have personal reasons for pursuing this initiative,” Donahoe said.  “My dad, who lost his own father to prostate cancer, was also diagnosed with the disease. But because of early detection and medical advancements, he is a survivor.”

Male physical therapy students participating in Movember began the month clean-shaven to level the playing field for growing their moustache by the end of the month.

“The guys in our class are known as Mo Bros and are very supportive of this initiative,” Link said. “They are wearing signs that read, ‘Ask me about my moustache.’ The idea is to get people talking about prostate cancer.”

Student Matt Bates, who had a grandfather diagnosed with prostate cancer, is growing a handlebar moustache with a soul patch in the center. “I’m participating in Movember to give a voice to men’s health and increase awareness about prostate cancer,” he said. “My hope is that the disease can be prevented or treated more effectively in the future.”

“It’s a very creative idea and gives me a great excuse to grow facial hair,” Ben Adkins said.  “After looking at some of the statistics on diseases related to men’s health, you realize that there is definitely the real potential for something like that to affect you or at least someone you know during your lifetime. I feel like I am simply looking out for my future and the future of other generations.” 

Link, Bates and Adkins are members of Donahoe’s online team called WVPTMOVEMBER, which is on the Movember website. Donahoe urges anyone interested in prostate cancer awareness to join the team and donate to the cause. Donations can be directed to the team or to sponsor individual Mo Bros.

“The female members on our team, or Mo Sistas, are showing their support of Movember by wearing fake moustaches,” she said. Both she and Bates have also groomed their dogs so that they appear to be growing moustaches.
At the end of Movember, all participants will be eligible for awards in different categories, including Best Mo, Most Unique Mo and Most Supportive MoBro/MoSista.

Proceeds raised from the moustache growing campaign will benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and LIVESTRONG, The Lance Armstrong Foundation. The PCF uses the money to fund research about detection and treatment of prostate cancer. LIVESTRONG uses the money to support its survivorship program, which helps cancer survivors make decisions regarding treatment, provides support throughout the treatment and helps to improve quality of life after treatment.

For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ss: 11-15-11