Movember ambassadors leading the charge for men’s health 2016
The countdown to the hairiest month of the year has begun as men around the world commit to signing up on www.movember.com and growing a moustache in the name of men’s health. Already at the starting line are KwaZulu-Natal Movember Ambassadors Sharks player Keegan Daniel (Ballito), East Cost Radio’s Darren Maule (Umhlanga) and East Coast Breakfast Show Producer Jason McCall (Kloof) who know that men’s health is no laughing matter.
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McCall (Kloof) commented, "I hate cancer a lot. I have seen so many people hurt and affected by it and obviously am concerned for my loved ones and myself about it. That’s why awareness campaigns like Movember are incredibly important, but getting checked and talking about cancer to each other is the main priority and the moustache campaign is brilliant for that." These Movember Ambassadors have signed up to lead the charge in raising awareness and opening dialogues about issues that affect men as well as the promotion of the need to improve your general health. Joining them as a Mo Bro and Mo Sista are Liam Magna and Jane Bailey-Smith (both from Morningside). The duo, known as the beat-mashing, party-making band Veranda Panda, said it was an honour to be part of Movember this year. He praised the Movember Foundation for; “dealing with vital issues around men’s health in an engaging and authentic way. Highlighting and dealing with topics that need discussion and a collective call to action," said Magna. Bailey-Smith believes men's health shouldn't only be a man thing. “We all have men in our life that are important to us, and that we want to look out for. It's great to join the movement as a Mo Sista and be a part of supporting this worthy cause." Surfing and lifesaving legend Brandon Ribbink (Morningside) is going to MOve this Movember as he will be competing in the International Surfing Association World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championship in Fiji. Having lost his mother to skin cancer Ribbink knows first-hand what a difference awareness and prevention can make. “This (skin cancer) was preventable,” he said. As a man who is constantly on the water and in the sun Ribbink said he is constantly aware of his own health. “But we could all be more aware. I think any medical condition is a worry; our health is one of our biggest blessings and no amount of money can buy this when it’s gone.” Ribbink said it was amazing to raise awareness while doing something he loves. “I am grateful to be competing in the upcoming World Champs, this carries quite a lot of prestige and respect, however, many are competing for their wellness on a daily basis without any recognition or reward - these are the truly remarkable efforts of many unsung heroes.” People like the father of fellow surfer Heather Clark (Port Shepstone). The multiple Masters World Champion surfer’s father has been fighting prostate cancer since 2008. He is now doing well after treatment. While Movember may be all about men’s health, Mo Sistas can sign up and support their fathers, brothers, sons and husbands. Clark, once ranked among the top three women surfers in the world and with multiple championships under her belt, said she was excited to be a Movember Ambassador; a Mo Sista. “I have always thought Movember was just a ‘guy’ thing and when my close friend explained it all to me I was really excited to know that women are getting involved and I am always willing to support the awareness of cancer,” she said. Clark had seen the effect of cancer on both her parents. “I shaved my head for breast cancer awareness for my mom. For my dad who has prostate cancer... I can’t grow a moustache but I will definitely throw away my razor for November and support Movember,” said Clark. Clark encouraged women to play a role in the health of their males loved ones. “Give them support and positivity and encourage the checkups and never to lose faith. To men I say keep smiling; a positive attitude has more power than any illness.” It’s all about positive vibes for Lotus FM’s Neville Pillay (Avoca) and Ryan Naicker (Malvern). As Movember Ambassadors, the duo are gearing up for outside broadcasts and events where they will challenge their male listeners to help support Movember and raise money. Pillay has become a household name in KwaZulu-Natal, having been on radio for almost 20 years. He and Naicker will both also grow moustaches for Movember but there is no contest as to who wears it best. Pillay, also a comedian concedes; “I think Ryan wears it better, it suits him for real, and I look clumsy in a moustache. For me Ryan looks like an Indian Tom Selleck.” For Pillay, Movember is personal. “As I enter my 40s I've become acutely aware of the challenges faced by older men especially, one of those is embarrassment. Men feel embarrassed to talk about things like testicular cancer or anything relating to male sexual health, I want to show them it's perfectly natural to be aware of and talk about cancer and go for check-ups.” Mo Magic (Berea) is under no illusion when it comes to men’s health. The famed magician will swap his signature clean-cut look for a moustache when he is not performing to highlight the importance of men’s health. “The more I age, the more I understand the importance of taking care of my health and it has become my number one priority,” he said. Mo, who lives in Musgrave, travels across the country to perform but makes sure that he does his best to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle. “I ensure I eat a good selection of nutritious food and get regular exercise. Personally, day to day health and wellbeing is most important and I find that many men get so caught up with work and family life that they forget to prioritise their health and well-being,” he said. As a Movember Ambassador, Mo is confident the campaign will spread awareness to educate others across the country. Supporting Movember is simple. The rules require each Mo Bro to start 1 November clean shaven, and to grow and groom a moustache for the entire month, effectively becoming a walking, talking billboard for the 30 days of Movember. Before the month disappears before your eyes, grow a Mo, save a Bro, commit to MOve or hold and attend an event. Sign up on www.movember.com at no cost. For more info, download the Movember app on your mobile device. Follow Movember on social media: @MovemberRSA on Twitter or facebook/MovemberSouthAfrica.