This month, Wesleyan students, many affiliated with athletic teams, are raising awareness and raising funds for men’s health through the Movember Foundation. According to its website, the Foundation is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global level, with a focus on addressing prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. It has funded over 1,200 men’s health projects in 21 countries.
Wesleyan has had an official Campus Representative with the Foundation for the past four years. This year Luke Forsthoefel ’20, a member of Men’s Crew team, is the Campus Representative for all of Wesleyan.
“The issue of men’s health is especially important to me because I think in a lot of ways there are societal norms and expectations put on men that can make it difficult for those who need help to get it,” he said. “There is a certain stigma around men asking for help and support when they need it, which is why I think it is so important to get people of all genders involved in helping men break this stigma.”
He was also struck by the sheer number of men affected by these health issues.
“One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime while testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15-34 years, and […] three out of every four suicides are men. These are pretty staggering statistics that have kept me inspired to be involved.”
This year, Wesleyan is hosting several official Movember teams: WES CREW, Wesleyan Men’s Hockey, and Wesleyan MO’s, a team open to anyone at Wesleyan not affiliated with an athletic team or group. Forsthoefel said more teams may still register. Donations may be made on any team’s page on the Movember website.
The signature feature of the Movember campaign is the growing of mustaches.
“People can choose to grow one to raise awareness for the cause. It sparks conversation and reminds people of the importance of men’s health and health awareness,” Forsthoefel explained. People can also use them to solicit donations. “Say, someone sponsors me to grow out a mustache over the entire month, or the highest donor gets to choose a crazy color to dye a supporter’s mustache!”
But supporters need not grow a mustache to get involved, he said.
“On the website, there is a Move Challenge where you can commit to running, walking, or exercising in some way for a certain amount of time or distance over the month of November,” he said, adding that supporters can also donate on the website, attend events, or just spread the word.
Forsthoefel’s goal for the Men’s Crew team is to raise $2,500 during November. On November 11, the team hosted a dodgeball tournament in the Bacon Field House. Twenty-one teams, and more than 100 players, participated, raising $1,080 for the campaign.
Other events this month will include an intramural soccer tournament, corn hole tournament, barbecue, and more.
“More than anything, getting the word out to alumni, family and friends is the most important part of the campaign,” as many small donations will quickly add up, said Forsthoefel.