You’ll have noticed I have a kind of love/hate relationship with fundraising, a relationship typified more by hate than by love on account of how I can’t fucking stand it. I can’t stand it on two counts: first, because I want you to give me your money without having to do anything for it; and second, because it brings out the inner twat in otherwise tedious people.
Ten years into fundraising I’ve run out of ideas. I ran out of ideas two years into fundraising, the last eight being a mash up of frustration, repetition and boredom. Quite why I have to entertain, amaze or otherwise dazzle people into giving me money when everyone knows the world is screwed in seventeen different directions is a mystery and injustice second only in size to the repeated casting of Madonna in otherwise professional feature films. I shouldn’t have to tap dance on an alligator’s left tit to remind you how people are starving in the world or promise you a nice day’s skydiving to get you off your arse. Fundraising should require nothing more than me standing in the street with a sandwich board saying “Seriously, though” and people dropping wads of cash into a skip in an acknowledgement of how other people need it more.
And then there’s the twat factor. Here we have Steve from Accounts getting his legs waxed because he’s ker-azy. Here we have Sandra from HR wearing deely boppers for 24 consecutive hours because she’s mad, her. Here we have Nicholas Witchell doing the can can for the 18th consecutive year because he’s Pudsey’s bitch. It’s why I was embarrassed by those runs the past couple of years in spite of the ten grand they brought in and it’s why I’m currently sick of testosterone-fuelled pube wranglers banging on about Movember. Even though I’m doing it, having caved in to what was a pretty minor bit of office-based peer pressure.
Movember, you’ll recall, is an annual fundraiser and awareness raiser for testicular and prostate cancer. It started in Australia in 2004 with a handful of men growing a few facefuls of moustaches to raise a few quid for men’s health charities. It’s absolutely raced away in the eight years since, hitting America, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain and the UK. Here we have a full on proper Butterfly, a small idea taking off and doing a substantial amount of goodery.
It’s a blokey bit of gimmickry that amounts to the facial hair equivalent of dick measuring, but it’s a necessary bit of gimmickry being as how men are often quite stupid about looking after their health, particularly if it’s in or around the toilet area. Movember is a big manly bit of manliness that gets in about the macho posturing that stops men getting checked. And they should get checked, on account of how many people are dying. NHS Choices reckons 36,000 men get hit with prostate cancer every year, accounting for a quarter of all male cancer diagnoses. 10,000 men die every year as a result. And yet, says the NHS, it can be cured if it’s caught and treated in the early stages. Likewise testicular cancer. It’s less common, with just over 2,000 diagnoses a year, but it too can be treated when caught early. And survival rates are way up there, kicking about the 95 percent area. The problem, of course, is that these particular cancers are not always caught early because they’re found in the balls and via the bumhole and some men aren’t up for doctors poking around their bits. That’s a shame because their embarrassment is killing them in a grotesque demonstration of Darwinian theory. That’s what Movember is looking to change.
In spite of my cynicism and other people’s twattishness it’s a cracking fundraiser, Movember’s official site reckoning it’s raised £184 million since its launch. The pace is gathering, with last year’s efforts accounting for near enough £80 million. Money raised in the UK goes to Prostate Cancer UK, the Institute for Cancer Research and awareness raising bits and pieces to get men to get themselves checked. And it’s a cracking awareness raiser. You’d be amazed these past few weeks how many conversations I’ve had with my coworkers about the quality and condition of their testicles. Way more than usual. Whether that translates to them going home and feeling up their balls for lumps is harder to say, even with the powerful zoom lens I have on my camera, but at least it’s being talked about. Movember’s the Chazza of the Month. You can donate right here and see about saving some of those 10,000 embarrassed Darwinites.
Photo credit: The Zero