Movember Roundup: The best efforts by UoB students
The shaggy faces around campus are all for a good cause!
The 1st of November means only one thing for men across the globe. The penultimate month sees people (including many boys of Brum) ditch the razor for 30 days in support of the Movember charity campaign.
Since its foundation in 2003, Movember has raised over $900 million for men’s health charities, and the men of UoB are proud to be a part of this ever-growing tradition. But it’s not just the boys – whilst they may not grow facial hair, the University of Birmingham girls have been working hard to fundraise for such an important cause too.
We’ve rounded up some of the best efforts of 2021 to find out why they did it, how they’re raising money, and most importantly for the men, whether they’ll be shaving off the ‘tache come 00:01 on 1 December.
Mikey Brown (no, not that one)
Birmingham’s lesser known, but equally as important Mikey Brown truly went above and beyond for Movember 2021. The sport exercise and health student participated in a 60km ultra-marathon at the end of November, highlighting the 60 men who take their own lives per hour across the world. Mikey’s fundraising across 2020 and 2021 has so-far raised a combined total of £1915, and you can contribute here.
“I wanted to highlight the issue of prostate cancer after having a scare myself back in 2019,” Mikey told The Birmingham Tab. “Movember is working to halve the number of deaths from prostate cancer by 2030, and I want to help them get there.”
The second year student described to The Birmingham Tab how he also “wanted to help raise awareness around men’s mental health and help normalise them talking openly about their own personal issues, something which has improved my own life over the last few years.
“I feel proud I managed to complete it and felt it taught me a lot about myself,” he said.
Representing the ladies, Esme Spry has been working tirelessly to raise funds throughout the month in order to support the cause of men’s mental health. A 3rd year music student, she’s been working as the media and merch representative for Brumsurf to get the whole society involved in Movember activities, with the club already having raised over £1700.
Esme told The Birmingham Tab: “As someone who has close male relations who have struggled with their mental health, I think it’s important to get the conversation going about these issues.
“I really appreciate the work that Movember does, both in terms of mental health and with prostate and testicular cancer. There is often shame involved over having health problems within male circles, but recently I feel that charities like Movember are helping to break that barrier down!”
You can donate to Brumsurf’s fundraiser here.
3rd year Geography student Jonty is sporting a very impressive horseshoe moustache as the campaign draws to a close. Jonty’s Movember look forms part of his contribution to the UoB Athletics fundraising, which he hopes will help raise awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.
“Everyone knows a lad close to them who struggles with health issue whether physical or mental, ” he told The Birmingham Tab. “The truth is through, you’re probably unaware that a lot more of the lads are struggling than you realise.”
“Taking part in Movember is a brilliant way to raise money and awareness for men’s health and to remind us to speak to each other about the problems we face.”
BreatheUni is a university society promoting mental health, personal development and EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion). November saw them run a month-long campaign consisting of a 60km sponsored walk/run to represent the 60 men that die by suicide every hour globally. Various activities have been organised, including a “MOment” fundraising sports day and a “Man Talk” panel event to encourage discussion about the topic. The group has also been sharing regular social media posts aiming to provide information and advice about men’s mental health, and help break down the stigma around it.
Vice-President of the society, Alec Bartlett described to The Birmingham Tab how it has made him “feel really passionate and rewarded by seeing how positively people have responded to the campaign. The Man Talk event in particular saw guys talk about issues very openly to people they hadn’t even met before, showing how far the Movember campaign has come in recent times.”
“Not only has the campaign generated funds for a great charity, it has also facilitated important discussions, which will have a lasting impact on the topic of men’s mental health,” added society Treasurer, Jack Brown.
Donate to BreatheUni’s campaign here.
Mubashir is a 2nd year Psychology student and member of University of Birmingham RFS. His efforts are certainly the most colourful across campus, with him dying his moustache a selection of eye-catching colours.
Mubashir explained to The Birmingham Tab: “I participated in Movember because I’m a big advocate of men’s mental health – I have an Instagram page dedicated to reducing the stigma behind mental illness, especially in men (@bashthestigma).”
“The interest and passion came as a result of my own struggles with illnesses, so Movember was a brilliant way to get involved with a great cause,” he said.
You can donate to the team fundraiser here.
Social secretary of the University of Birmingham Tennis Club, Andrew took part in Movember to help the team’s fundraising efforts, with the men growing facial hair and the girls racking up 60km of running.
The team told The Birmingham Tab: “As a club we really wanted to raise awareness to such an important cause, as especially in the sporting world, we feel men’s mental health needs to be addressed more.
“We hope Movember has helped people feel like they can talk to their friends, or anyone, as people really do care!” he explained.
You can donate to the team here.
Medical student Henry is currently on an intercalation year specialising in cancer sciences. He took part in Movember as part of a few different teams, but you can donate to one of them – University of Birmingham Boat Club – here.
Henry told The Birmingham Tab: “To take part in Movember is very easy even if you can’t grow much facial hair. In some ways, I think it’s better if the moustache isn’t great, as people are more likely to question it, and the more awareness raised for the cause, the better.”
“It’s just a reminder to check in on your mates. Mental health issues and men taking their own lives is a big issue that won’t change overnight, but events like Movember nudge people in the right direction and make them more aware of these issues,” he shared.
“I know money is tight in the run up to Christmas so donation isn’t possible for everyone. But, as someone who has struggled with mental health issues before, just a well timed message to check how you’re doing can be amazing.”
When asked if he’ll be shaving it off now it’s December, Henry explained to The Birmingham Tab that he “might cut it down a bit, but I’m getting a few people telling me to keep it.”
5th year medic Joe took part in Movember as part of the University of Birmingham Medics RFC, a club who are true veterans to the cause. As the top fundraiser in the club, Joe’s efforts so far have raised almost £300.
“Mental health problems can affect anyone – we all know someone who has been deeply impacted. The money raised is great and goes a long way to help people who need it most, but I think the awareness is the most important thing,” Joe told The Birmingham Tab.
“There is a sense of unity in walking around in November and seeing plenty of men sporting a moustache, and if it sparks even just a few conversations about mental health it’s well worth it.”
He explained to The Birmingham Tab: “Last year one of the boys from a couple of years below me at school took his own life. I didn’t really know him but it still really hits home that there is still so much suffering out there and there’s always more we can do,” he said.
You can donate to the team here.
University of Birmingham Rugby League player Owen has been working hard as part of the club campaign in order to raise money for Movember, again using his face to display his support for the cause.
“I’m just doing it to raise more money and awareness for men’s mental health – we have all seen the shocking statistics regarding male suicide rates,” Owen explained to The Birmingham Tab.
“Just by supporting the Movember foundation, it really helps tackle the stigma regarding men’s mental health,” he said. “The work they do lets guys know that it’s alright to talk and open up about problems you are facing.”
Another representative of UoB’s Rugby League, Joshua has also been fundraising for the club by hiding the razor for the month of November.
Joshua told The Birmingham Tab: “Every November I grow a moustache for Movember as I believe that men’s mental health is something that is often overlooked. More awareness and support is necessary to help combat the devastating reality which affects the 4000 men, and their friends and family, in the UK every year who take their own lives.”
“Movember is a fantastic cause and something that helps support men who are going through these hard times so that they hopefully do not become a part of that horrifying statistic,” he said.