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Women + Movember

Heather Mott is one of the Movember Foundation’s top fundraisers.

Prostatepedia spoke with her about raising money for men’s health.

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How did you become involved with Movember?

Ms. Mott: This is my sixth year participating as a Mo Sista and raising funds for the cause. I don’t remember exactly how I heard about it, but I think it was through social media. It sounded interesting and fun and it benefits men’s health, so I started doing it.

When I started, Movember was more focused on prostate and testicular cancers, but now they’ve branched out into mental health awareness and healthy lifestyle activities.

How can a woman participate?

Ms. Mott: It is easy to get involved – all you have to do is sign up on their website. I try to do a different photo every day of the month. Since I am genetically-challenged to grow my own mustache, I usually order fake moustaches and take some selfies. Sometimes friends help me.

I’ve tried doing themes with some common factor across the different photos. For example, my theme for this year’s Movember campaign is photos of individuals in a role that serves the community. Today, I posted a photo with a Navy backdrop, thanking all those who serve or have served in the Navy. I’ve posted backgrounds with other public servants like teachers, those in the justice system, or first responders.

What kind of themes have you used in the past?

Ms. Mott: One year I had the different individuals from the Village People who sing the YMCA song. I had a cop, a construction worker, and all that. There hasn’t been a real rhyme or reason to the themes, just whatever strikes me that year.

How do you get people to join your team?

Ms. Mott: When I started, I didn’t join a team. Then the next year my company, Johnson & Johnson (I’m at the Los Angeles Neutrogena facility) started a team. I joined them and this is our fifth year. We have new people each year and some reoccurring partners. We do a lot of recruiting onsite and there is some friendly competition. We have all kinds of events over the course of the month.

Has your involvement in Movember had an impact on your community?

I started with Movember because I thought it was an interesting way to raise awareness and help fund research. Then, about three years ago, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thanks in part to Movember awareness, he caught it so early that he was able to do active monitoring for a year. There wasn’t enough cancer to treat.

Last year, he went through treatment. Because he caught it so early, he went through a program called CyberKnife. He has had hardly any side effects, no pain, nausea, nothing that people tend to associate with cancer treatment.

My involvement in Movember impacted me personally and made a big difference in my father’s life.

Would he have waited to be screened if you hadn’t been involved with Movember?

Ms. Mott: He’s been a pretty healthy and health-conscious individual throughout his life, so he is pretty diligent about getting his annual checkups. Once he got to a certain age and was a little bit more aware, it definitely helped him. It helped him network, understand treatment options, and talk to others about it. I know that that’s something Movember is big on, raising awareness. There are networks out there to help you when you find out you have cancer. He was nervous at first, so it definitely helped him get through all of it. It helped him be conscious that it’s important to get these checkups, especially at a certain age.

Does he participate in Movember along with you?

Ms. Mott: He is a very active supporter, but he doesn’t have his own Mo Space or anything like that.

You should set him up.

Ms. Mott: [laughs] I know. He’s always had facial hair.

He was already growing the moustache?

Ms. Mott: Yes. He was growing long before.

Do you have any thoughts for men or women who want to fundraise for Movember?

Ms. Mott: I would love to see even more Mo Sistas, because we all have men we love in our lives. I became aware of Movember through social media, so I’m always posting through my social media platforms.

But I’ve also done some bake sales at a community brewery and I worked with local businesses to get the word out.

Is it worth trying to get your company or place of work to organize a team?

Ms. Mott: Yes. I work at a large company, so a lot of individuals here care about health. That has made it easier for us to have a team each year.

Last year, our goal was to raise $10,000; we raised about $13,750. It does help partially that I work with a large company, but this is something anybody can get behind.

We all know at least one man who’s at least had a scare, right?

Ms. Mott: Yes.

Does your team have events throughout the month, or is it mainly just about getting together and raising as much money as you can?

Ms. Mott: We have events. I’m co-leading our team here onsite this year. We have a Shave Off kick-off each year where all of the guys signed up come, and since we make men’s care products, they do a shave off together.

We then host different fundraising activities. This year we have a lot of healthy activity initiatives at Johnson & Johnson. We’re doing some yoga and a Ping-Pong competition. People can buy-in to donate to the team; there will be some prizes at the end of the tournament.

We do different activities each year to keep it fun, engaging, and to generate funds. Johnson & Johnson has a culture of supporting these types activities and there are other ways for companies to help. Companies often match donations.

Any last thoughts for men who might want to participate?

Ms. Mott: It’s so easy to sign up and get involved. It’s such a fun activity. Movember is a very engaging group. Their United States headquarters is in Culver City, CA—right next to us.

It’s a great way for men to touch base in a less formal environment, and it definitely builds a network, so that should you get diagnosed, you have others who understand, can offer support, and who have maybe been through it themselves.

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Facebook + Movember

 

Andrew Hahn is one of the Movember Foundation’s top fundraisers.

Prostatepedia spoke to him about how he uses Facebook in the annual moustache-growing campaign that is raising funds for men’s health .

Andrew.Hahn

How did you become involved with Movember?

Andrew Hahn: I knew a few people nine years ago who were growing moustaches. They looked silly, but it started a conversation about something that, at the age of 32, I wasn’t used to talking about: prostate and testicular cancer. I wanted to learn more about the movement and why they were doing it. My father, unfortunately, passed away from cancer when I was 24.

I’m so sorry. That’s so young.

Mr. Hahn: Thank you. He had a moustache his entire life. Even though he passed away from brain cancer, here was an amazing opportunity for me to connect with my dad and raise some important funds and to help people not go through what I went through.

I’ve been very fortunate: I’ve built teams and have raised over $150,000 in the last seven or eight years.

What is your fundraising strategy?

Mr. Hahn: Any charity or fundraising is important and phenomenal. Three out of four of us have someone who has been affected by cancer. You have friends who walk a 5K for breast cancer. That’s amazing. But you really get some empathy for growing a moustache for 30 days. It’s not just a Sunday morning.

I’ve never asked anyone for donations. I’m very proud of that. I’ve backhandedly guilted them into it.

Traditionally, I send out an email in late October. Sometimes I make a video, tell people what I’m doing, and talk about the mission to benefit all men and stop them dying too young.

I do a ton of social media posting. Anytime someone donates, I thank them, hyperlink them on Facebook, and say, “Thank you, Erin. Your contribution is amazing. If anyone wants to be as cool as Erin…” I do cool pictures.

Even though I haven’t asked them directly, everyone on social media just sees it going on. They see how long a month actually is. I take pictures of my moustache, and my family, and the people who donate. I wouldn’t say it’s easy. It’s actually a lot of work. It usually takes about 80-100 hours per Movember campaign.

Just in terms of the social media posting and curating?

Mr. Hahn: The social media is one part. I put a huge team together within a company and we advertise and market together. We got approval from the company to design T-shirts so anytime someone donated $50 or more, they got a T-shirt. Then all of a sudden, people were wearing T-shirts around the office and others were asking, “What did you get that t-shirt for?” It’s a lot of work.

You must work closely with your company then?

Mr. Hahn: Yes, with my former company. It was great press for them because one year we raised over $50,000. Being a large tech company, it was just a great thing for them to brag about.

Most large companies have some kind of philanthropy branch, don’t they?

Mr. Hahn: Exactly. My buddy justdonated yesterday. He works with Google and they matched his contribution dollar for dollar, which is pretty awesome.

Do you have any thoughts for men who want to participate?

Mr. Hahn: I’m going on 41 this year. I see huge stigmas about men going to the doctor, being proactive, and—let’s be candid—guys don’t want a finger up their ass. There’s this saying: if you think a finger up your butt once a year is painful, God forbid you have to get that done every day while dealing with prostate cancer.

Early detection, prevention, and awareness are the only fights we have. The money that we’re raising and the cause we’re helping isn’t for a cure; it’s for early prevention, awareness, discussion, and those type of things.

Screening.

Mr. Hahn: Exactly.

What about the mental health piece? Because that has come into play in the last few years for Movember.

Mr. Hahn: As you know, three out of four suicides are men. My wife’s dad, unfortunately, committed suicide. She’s Asian, and in her culture, they’re even quieter about talking about mental health.

I had a buddy who I wouldn’t say was suicidal, but he was really down from being out of work and being a dad. My awareness was not only to have conversations with him, but to also ask how he was doing and to take it deeper. “How are you feeling? What’s your plan?” Saying “You can come to me for anything,” is something I probably wouldn’t have been as comfortable doing without Movember. It challenges your manhood. You don’t have a job. Your wife’s on you. It’s a great campaign to have in parallel for that reason.

What you’re saying is the awareness campaigns encourage men to reach out to those who are suffering, and not just for men who are suffering to reach out to others?

Mr. Hahn: Yeah. This is one of my best friends, but guys are bros. We golf, we drink, we talk about fantasy sports. We don’t really talk about our feelings. Traditionally, I would’ve said, “Hey man, how are you doing?” He’d say, “Oh, I’m okay. It’s okay.” I’d think, “You’ll be fine. You’re strong.” Then we’d talk about beer again.

The elevated comfort zone and awareness enabled and empowered me to be more aware, to have a larger conversation about his overall health, his well-being, and his plan. He knew that if it was two in the morning, he could call me and I’d be there for him. It’s just a verbal hug.

The Movember movement seems to be a cultural phenomenon, at least from the outside.

Mr. Hahn: It is. There are so many guys who grow moustaches, some for Movember, and some because it’s a hipster thing to do in November.

Are we upset when someone grows a mustache and doesn’t raise money? As long as it starts a conversation, it’s okay.

I’m in sales and I’m client-facing all the time. I used to be afraid that if I had a moustache, people would look at me funny. Now, I walk into a room and I point out, “Hey, I know I look silly. I’m doing this for Movember to raise money for awareness.” It changes the entire dynamic of the conversation. I go from being a salesperson to a human starting a conversation.

It really is a phenomenon. Two-thirds of the people who donate to me are not good friends. They’re people that I went to high school with, or people that I worked with 10 years ago. The common theme is they’ve been affected by cancer. The average donation I get is probably about $80. I am blown away by that.

I would have thought $20 or $30.

Hahn: No. I got $180 donation yesterday from someone I haven’t seen or spoke to in years. I get a $1,000 donation each year from someone who I see less than once a year. These are people who have been affected and want to do something. They know Movember is a great organization.

You said you spend a lot of time on social media. Are there certain channels that you favor over others, say Facebook versus Instagram?

Mr. Hahn: I do Facebook to thank people more than Instagram. I was a little late to Instagram. On Facebook I have 1,000 friends while on Instagram I have about 200. I just have a greater reach and impact on Facebook.

I use the Movember filter where it says, “Thank you for your donation.” The great thing about those posts is not only am I thanking them and creating awareness, it also makes them feel good, and all their friends know that they give. It’s a win-win-win.

Positive reinforcement?

Mr. Hahn: Well, it is. And it candidly pokes at your other friends who haven’t donated. Of my 20 best friends, I think only three of them donate to Movember. The people who tend to donate are those who have been impacted and affected.

Most of us have at least one man in our family who has experienced depression if not prostate cancer itself. If you combine both of those things together, that’s quite a lot of men impacted.

Mr. Hahn: Exactly. Movember is still known for prostate and testicular cancer awareness. The suicide prevention is a new initiative that most people don’t associate with Movemeber.

I wonder if people view Movember as a prostate cancer nonprofit or just a men’s health group.

Mr. Hahn: I think they view Movember as men’s health and something related to cancer at this point, but like I said, men don’t go to the doctor and men don’t talk about their feelings.

That may be changing as men come of age in the social media era.

Mr. Hahn: It will change. If 20% of guys are comfortable talking now, maybe it’ll rise to 30% or 40%. I see my friends so infrequently because I have a family and a job, so when I see them, I really just want to talk about sports, beer, and golf, even if something’s really weighing on me.

In my experience, when I tell someone what’s going wrong, they’re apathetic. They’ll ask a question, but I don’t think the dialogue continues with men. They ask if you’re okay, and then they take it one level deeper, but your friends aren’t trying to be your therapist. Part of the mental awareness is making men feel okay to talk to someone professional.

Any last thoughts for men who want to participate or who are already participating but want to increase their reach?

Mr. Hahn: When people are on the fence, unsure of whether or not they want to participate, I have one great tool to encourage people to participate. I tell them: Just start growing out your beard for a week. Bring it down to a mustache, and I promise you, a week into it, you’re going to be so into it and love it. I would say 10 out of 10 people that start on the fence end up actually growing out the Mo.

Money is great, but conversations can be great, too. If they have one conversation a day about why they have a mustache, they’re raising awareness and education and a level of comfort. Like I said, almost equally important to raising money is raising awareness and starting those conversations.

What about getting women to participate?

Mr, Hahn: I’m so glad you brought that up because at my former company, over 40% of the donations were brought in by Mo Sistas. Obviously, they can’t grow a mustache, but it impacts their husbands, brothers, boyfriends, sons and dads, so it’s equally important to them. They can take pictures with funny, fake mustaches. Sometimes we would combine a Mo Bro and a Mo Sis and they would rally together.

The joke I make to my single friends is that 9 out of 10 girls do not like mustaches, but that one girl really likes mustaches. When I was single and had a mustache, I had a little fun.

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The Moustache: A Fun Approach To A Serious Problem

Sandy Goodman is one of Movember’s top fundraisers. Prostatepedia spoke to him about their annual moustache-growing campaign.

Goodman

What is Movember?

Sandy Goodman: Movember is a fun approach to a serious problem. A bunch of guys sat down over some beers and dreamed up this way to follow the lead of breast cancer awareness advocates, who had been doing such a great job talking to women about early detection. These guys talked about what could be done for men. It’s grown into something much larger. The bottom line: guys don’t talk and men are dying too young (6 years earlier than women, on average).

Men are dying too young, and, for Movember, the simple solution is the moustache. The moustache is just our ribbon—it’s our banner. I don’t grow a moustache normally. Because I do it once a year, everyone asks why I’m growing one. It sparks the conversation.

Movember has been very innovative. They’ve made all the fundraising and gift-giving tools available online to everybody. An incredible amount of partnership and research has been funded through Movember. The back end—what the money is going towards—has real outcomes.

I’m happy to be a part of something that’s fun, and I’m proud to be part of something that’s truly making a difference.

image003Sounds like the annual campaign isn’t just about fundraising, but is also a way to start talking about some of these issues.

Sandy Goodman: Yeah, that’s right. It’s definitely all about sparking conversation. Men are terrible at making doctor appointments. Men are terrible at following up on doctor appointments. Men are terrible about checking themselves and being aware of what’s going on. To the extent that we can just spark conversation is a big impact.

Movember used to say that one moustache reaches an average of 100 people in a month. The number of emails you send out and share, Facebook posts, blog posts, the pictures—the reach is large and it just multiplies.

I’d be surprised to find anyone on the globe now who doesn’t understand what a moustache during the month of November means.

For me, it’s just about being involved with something. We all need to give back. I’m a huge believer in lifting with your pinkies as a group. It’s such a powerful thing when we all just lift together.

How did you get involved with Movember?

Sandy Goodman: I got involved 10 years ago because my father-in-law was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had been doing all the right things. He went to his doctor for PSA and DRE exams every year. When his doctor saw something he didn’t like, he said, “You have an elevated PSA score and need to come back.”

At the time, he was getting remarried. His brother had had some complications after a prostatectomy, so my father-in-law was afraid to go back. He didn’t go back until a year later when he was doubled over in pain and they said it was too late. He was terminally ill with prostate cancer. It had spread. They gave him three years to live; he made it eight years, but it was not a very good eight years.

Early detection is so important, but beyond early detection is early action. My father-in-law did the right things, but then didn’t follow through… he didn’t take action. It was sad to watch this whole process. It was especially terrible, because it was completely avoidable.

At the time, I knew nothing about my prostate. I didn’t know what it did. I didn’t really know where it was and I never checked it. I was 45 years old. None of my friends knew anything about their prostates, either. We never checked our testicles or any of that stuff.

At the same time, a work friend’s dad had cancer. He was getting involved with Movember. He started a team and I joined him. Movember had only been in the United States for a year at the time.

It was a fun approach to a serious problem, which was right up my alley. I grew a moustache, got hooked, and I’ve been growing for 10 years now. I’ve been talking to everyone I can, all my bros.

Movember has had the viral social media aspect going for it.

Sandy Goodman: Completely. I started a golf tournament for our team 5 years ago. It’s grown. My goal was to bring the Movember message to my local community. I was walking around the South Bay and people would recognize that I had grown a moustache, but I think they saw me as a novelty. I wanted to do more. The golf tournament brings in local businesses. They set up on every other hole, so it’s an interactive experience. It’s a fun day. One of them sponsors the team photos of everyone holding up the tournament banner.

This year, instead of having a professional photographer there to take the picture, we’re asking the players to take the pictures with their own cameras and phones, so they’ll have it immediately. Then they can share and post their photos with hash tags. It’s just another way to keep the message growing virally.

There are new ideas every year.

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What has been your own approach to Movember?

Sandy Goodman: It’s changed over the years. At first, it was about getting people on the team. We’ve had as many as 80 people on a team and we’ve had as few as 20. I haven’t even really started building a team yet for this year. I used to start up on September 15, the day the website goes up, but it was a bit early. I just sent my first email for recruiting.

Originally, we just had a get-together with the guys. Then, we connected with some local bars and existing local events. Now we help promote. Bars and restaurants are happy for us to bring our crew, so we’ve had a lot of success with that. If there’s too much happening on the calendar, though, people can get burnt out, so we take that into consideration.

Movember has made it easier to host an event. Once you’re signed up, you can send invites to your friends or you can post events publicly. It’s fantastic. You could post a keg party if you wanted and ask for donations as admission.

When they were in college, I helped my sons set up their own team, The Buffalo Mo Bros. I encouraged them to use those tools to set up keg parties and things like that. It was super easy. It’s about getting together, having fun, and raising awareness and some money.

How do you motivate people to donate to a cause like this?

Sandy Goodman: In the beginning, I fundraised almost exclusively through email. I would send out about eight emails throughout the campaign. I started with the kickoff, maybe something for Halloween, then Veterans Day, and halfway there’s the golf tournament and then the wrap-up.

I would always attach a personal message. I would cut my group into subgroups, such as work friends or high school friends, and then cater the messages to them. Movember allows you to upload pictures to the site, so I do that, and they can see my progress.

Now, I focus exclusively on the golf tournament, because it’s just a big event. It raises about $50,000. I organize everything.

For whatever reason, I am fortunate to have some very generous friends. Everyone understood that I was passionate about it and that resonated. I was passionate because of my father-in-law. I was passionate because I have three sons who have a history to be concerned with because they’re two and a half times more likely to get it than I am.

What works for my fundraising is email campaigns and being thoughtful about how I word the emails and who I send them to.

I’ve been doing this for 10 years. I’ve been the top United States fundraiser for the past 8 years. The individual who has raised the MOst MOney is called the MoMo. It’s a title I love. I would love to retain it.

I imagine if you’ve been doing this for eight years, you must have a core group of people who campaign with you every year?

Sandy Goodman: I do, but people come in and out. It’s hard to maintain the passion. There are many charities that compete for our attention and our dollars. People have other things in their lives. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and your focus and priorities just change.

For example, one of the guys who has been with me all these years just told me: “My mother-in-law has breast cancer. So I’ve decided to focus on the breast cancer walk this year.” I think that’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that. I miss him, but he’s still doing great things.

For me, it’s just about being involved with something. It’s such a powerful thing when we all lift together. It’s about numbers.

It’s about having a clear message and a clear path for success. You have to make it frictionless for people so that they can just click and be done. If people don’t see a hyperlink and they don’t understand your methods, you’re not going to win. Movember has been fantastic at that. They get that need for ease. That’s why they were trailblazers and why they were able to have such success and to grow so quickly.

They made it frictionless. They made it easy for people to understand the message, to follow somebody who’s passionate and having fun and to see your progress. Pictures and emails are template-driven, so they allow you to spin to your group, update, and customize your message. “Just click here.” It’s that simple.

What are your tips for men who want to start their own group?

Sandy Goodman: Have fun. Be passionate. And do the work. There’s a full spectrum of Mo Bros and Mo Sisters. There are people out there who sign up and they’ve raised zero dollars, but they have fun and they have an excuse to spark conversations. That’s great. They’re doing something and making a difference. If one moustache saves one life, even if you haven’t raised any dollars, that’s fantastic.

On the other end of the spectrum, some people just get really into it. They get passionate, organized, do the hard work, and they raise a lot of money and awareness. It’s a balance between both.

Do you have any advice for patients or their loved ones who want to participate?

Sandy Goodman: I watched my father-in-law suffer. It was a very difficult experience for everybody—obviously for him—but also for all his family members. Once he had prostate cancer, we learned that it was so confusing to find and understand the resources available, the best course of action, or the best treatments.

Movember had resources that were really comforting and helpful and focused on care (LIVESTRONG at the time). Knowing that they’re doing the research and the work is comforting also.

Under “About Us,” they have information on the work that they’re doing. There are over 1,200 projects funded by Movember in all areas of men’s health: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

They also provide links to other resources. They have hotlines for people to call for more information and support.

Resources for mental health have really grown in prominence at Movember over the past few years, mostly in response to the mental anguish that you go through when faced with any cancer and not knowing who to talk to. When you consider that three out of four suicides are men, it’s a huge issue at all ages.

I never want to get a message from someone saying they’re glad I’m doing this because they’ve just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. That’s terrible. But the fact that they were diagnosed and they’re taking action is fantastic, because they’re reaching out. They’ve seen me, my passion, and they’ve seen my moustache every year.

I always pick up the phone. I try to help however I can. If I can provide a resource through Movember, I always do that, but it’s a tough journey.

Most people with prostate cancer will die of something else.

Sandy Goodman: That’s true. For those who already have prostate cancer, it’s the treatment and it’s the side effects that are difficult.

I have several friends that have gone through complete prostatectomies and several going through active surveillance. It’s not an easy journey, even if it’s super successful. It just takes time.

Do you still feel men don’t want to talk about prostate cancer?

Sandy Goodman: That’s changing a little. I have two good friends who have had prostatectomies and they’ve had some very serious side effects. They are extremely open about wearing diapers and the other issues. That conversation wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago. I would have waived them off like: “I don’t want to hear that.” Now, I’m open to it, everyone around me is open to it, and it’s not taboo anymore. It’s more about being there for them than anything else. The message is being heard.

Do you think that this change is due to efforts like Movember’s annual campaign, or do you think society is evolving?

Sandy Goodman: I think it’s a combination. It’s not one or the other. People are coming of age in a more communicative era. We have Facebook and social media and charities out there are promoting and discussing these issues.

We’re more accustomed to sharing our emotions as a culture?

Sandy Goodman: Yes. We share a lot. We share everything on the worldwide web. There it’s frictionless, and the messages are bouncing around at hyper speed all the time. Sometimes more than you want. But that’s for the best when you’re talking about things that in the past were not discussed and should be.

Depression and suicide?

Sandy Goodman: One hundred percent. People suffer on their own for many reasons, including cancer. That’s the main message of Movember: talk, listen, and be there. I’ve picked up the phone to check on people many times over the last couple years, and we just have a conversation. Other times people have reached out to me when I wasn’t feeling great about things. I would just be honest and say: “I just need to talk to someone right now.”

For me, that support is completely thanks to Movember and their message. I try to practice what they preach, but it’s not always easy. We’re guys. We still grew up being guys. We don’t cry. We say, put a Band-Aid on it, you’ll be fine. But that’s not as powerful as reaching out.

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