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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

‘Movember’ makes facial hair a philanthropic cause

Senior Kyle McElwee started "Moquette" this November to help raise awareness for men's cancer by growing out his facial hair. Photo courtesy Kyle McElwee

Think twice before you judge a man’s facial hair.

Kyle McElwee and John Hennessey, two seniors in the College of Business Administration, began raising awareness for men’s cancer by growing beards and mustaches in the month of “Movember” (a fusion of the words “mustache” and “November”) in 2009. Their team, titled “Moquette,” currently has 26 members.

This year, Moquette raised $9,594 for the Movember movement.

For Movember (also commonly referred to as No Shave November) men maintain facial hair for a full month, and collect donation to support the fight against male cancer.

McElwee said the movement was started by six Australian men, but has rapidly spread, demonstrating “the power of change.”

The Movember website lists hundreds of support teams across the country and offers 33 percent of donations each to the Livestrong Foundation, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Movember Foundation.

In 2009, McElwee and Hennessey raised an initial $250 for the Movember fund.

Moquette men particularly fueled the movement, as they were motivated to make change by maintaining facial hair — a prospect McElwee said most guys find undesirable.

McElwee stressed his work in fundraising is the combined efforts of the Marquette community, the Moquette team and what he calls “Mosistas,” or the women who support the men’s decision not to shave.

McElwee’s passion in raising awareness for male cancer stems from a sentimental place as his father, a Marquette alumnus, was personally affected by cancer.

“My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years back,” McElwee said. “That just showed us what cancer does, but also the technology that cured it. He’s now completely cancer-free.”

Hennessy echoed McElwee’s sentiments in stressing the relevance of Movember.

“The Chicago skyline paints itself pink for breast cancer,” Hennessy says. “Our Movember goal is for every pink ribbon, there’s a mustache.”

The duo hopes Movember remains a time where men may learn of such risks and, in turn, react in a healthful way year round.

“Sometimes men tend to be more stubborn with their health and getting checked,” McElwee said. “We wanted to break down those barriers.”

In response to fundraising efforts, the Movember organization hosts galas across the country. McElwee and Hennessy attended one event in Chicago.

Some students, including Elizabeth Thalanany, a sophomore in the College of Nursing, think the Movember efforts are unique ways to share an important message.

“It definitely helps to get their message across and spread awareness because it gets people to question why they are doing it,” Thalanany said.

She joked that the movement brings out smiles and laughter because of participants’ “ridiculous mustaches.”

To keep inspiring and entertaining students like Thalanany, Hennessy believes maintaining the effort on campus is key, considering Moquette is comprised of mostly graduating seniors.

“Administration needs to take some kind of control over this so team Moquette can be a dominant force every year helping men’s health,” Hennessy said.

However successful Movember was on campus, the men acknowledge there is still confusion regarding their cause.

“You get funny looks, but let the haters hate because what we’re doing is great,” Hennessy said.

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