I have never been a fan of mustaches. I have hated them in all shapes and forms for as long as I can remember. I didn’t appreciate the 80’s style mustache characteristic of the men I would see while visiting family in Turkey. I scoffed at the ironic, thin mustaches sported by so many of the hipsters in San Francisco. The only ‘staches I have been able to abide by are the temporary ones leftover by milk, so I was understandably horrified when I found out that not only were some of the guys in our medical school class planning on growing out mustaches for a month, but that they were recruiting all the men to follow suit.
Months of begging and attempting to rationalize with them had no effect, and the last week of October brought an increasing sense of dread. However, everything changed in the span of that last week. Fellow med student Murtaza Bharmal created a UVM MoSpace team page through which individuals could donate money to members or the team as a whole to support them in the process of growing out their mustaches. All the funds would be donated to an official global charity that supports men’s health programs combating prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health challenges. After seeing the team page in the Class of 2017 Facebook group, I posted asking if I could make donations for the men to NOT grow their mustaches out. When Jon Hernandez jokingly replied that for every $100 I raised, I could shave someone’s mustache off, a new movement was born. I joined the UVM team and raised $60 within the first 30 minutes by appealing to friends and family. After that, I created a new team page for this effort called “Team Shave ‘Em Off.” Over the last few weeks, we raised the additional $40 to actually shave one lucky guy. We are currently only $50 away from shaving off another horrible mustache.
Though this fundraising effort started off as something of a joke, it’s been great to see it evolve and to recognize the potential it may have for future years. For example, after the guys realized their mustaches were in danger of being shaved off earlier in the month than they wanted, many of them ramped up their fundraising, soliciting their friends and families to support the UVM team. This competitive aspect is fun, and it’s also for a good cause. As a future physician, it’s gratifying to contribute to an organization focused on improving men’s health, which seems to receive less attention and funding than women’s health efforts. We only have a short time left to shave as many mustaches as possible, and we’re working hard to get donors more involved. For every dollar donated by an individual, they can vote for the person in the class they would like to see shaved and even have their name included in a raffle to be the shaver. Speaking from personal experience with our first shave, I can say that it is a heady and powerful feeling helping someone become beautiful again. With the month nearing its end, please donate to http://us.movember.com/team/1417009 !