By: Amy Wiggins

Video: Mark Hill has shaved off his mo every year for ten years. But losing his father to cancer and three friends to suicide keeps him coming back each year. Video / Jason Oxenham

Losing three colleagues to suicide and his dad to cancer is one of the reasons Mark Hill-Rennie gets rid of his signature moustache every November.

Blokes all around the world will begin to sport a hairy top lip as Movember kicks off again tomorrow in an effort to raise awareness about men’s health issues.

As others work on growing theirs out, Hill-Rennie will get rid of his moustache so he can start afresh.

This will be the 10th year in a row ANZ’s regional business banking manager for Auckland East has shaved off his greying moustache for the cause.

“By doing this I’m raising awareness for some pretty important issues like mental health,” he said.

It was a cause close to his heart after attending the funerals of three colleagues who had taken their own lives in recent years.

“That gives me an incentive to keep going with it. On the cancer side, you just see so many men and women impacted by it, including my father who passed away from it.”

While it was neither testicular nor prostate cancer which claimed his father’s life, it showed how much of an impact it had on families, he said. “It does just raise your awareness around the whole thing.”

Hill-Rennie said his children had never known him without a moustache and hated when it came off every year.

“It’s getting greyer and greyer every year,” he said. “I do get some nice comments like, ‘It makes you look miles younger’. It will come back on again.”

Over the years he has raised more than $18,400 for the Movember Foundation with $1120 of it from this year already. His target for this year was to raise $5000.

All funds raised throughout the month would go towards programmes focused on prostate cancer, testicular cancer and male mental health.

Movember’s New Zealand manager Robert Dunne said every bit of support helped stop men suffering in silence.

One in two Kiwis would experience a mental health problem at some stage in their lives, while three in four suicides were men, he said.

Globally, a man is lost to suicide every minute of every day. In New Zealand one man takes his life every day on average.

Across the world, men die on average six years younger than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable.

When detected early, prostate cancer survival rates were better than 98 per cent. Find it late and those survival rates dropped below 26 per cent, Dunne said.

While testicular cancer was the most common cancer affecting young Kiwi men aged 15-35, it was a highly treatable cancer and could be effectively treated, and often cured, if diagnosed early.

“When it comes to their health, too many men don’t talk, don’t take action and die too young. If we don’t act, this won’t change.

“The programmes and projects Movember funds and delivers are aimed at helping build a society where men are living long, quality lives as they are socially connected, physically active and actively engaged in discussing their health, so it is important that we continue to fight the fight and show ongoing support for the cause,” Dunne said.

He urged people to “grow a mo to save a bro”.

Mo Sistas could take part in Move, which involves getting physically active to raise further funds, he said.

Mo Sistas could support their men through any type of movement, whether that’s going for a daily run during the month of November or participating in a new sport or activity.

Go to the Movember Foundation website to sign up or support someone.

WHERE TO GET HELP:

If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.
If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:

DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354
NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737
SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234

There are lots of places to get support.
For others, visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/in-crisis/helplines/

Source: NZ Herald

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