Cancer Survivor Jared Lee On Why 'Movember' Is About More Than Just Growing Out Moustaches

"Grow a mo, save a bro."

Cover image via TheGRIMFILM/YouTube & Radio Canada

This month, men around the world are proudly growing out moustaches and documenting their hair growth on social media in the name of 'Movember'

Image via

The rules of the worldwide phenomenon, which has taken place every November since 2003, are simple – start the month clean-shaven and resist reaching for the razor until the month is over, in an effort to raise funds and awareness for a number of men's health issues.

Despite its global scale, Movember's causes often get overshadowed by the 'no shave' trend.

"I was always under the impression that it was for hipsters to show off their moustaches," said YouTuber Jared Lee.

In a viral video posted on his channel, TheGRIMFILM, Jared revealed that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in February.

"I think that there's not enough awareness on health issues in general in Malaysia. I know there are campaigns here and there but it was always seen as boring or unrelated," he told SAYS in an exclusive interview.

"The response from the video I uploaded on my personal journey with testicular cancer proved that many needed the awareness," he added.

Here are three things you may not have known about the Movember movement:

1. The idea behind Movember was formed by two Australians who joked about bringing back the old-fashioned '70s moustache

In 2003, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery were discussing recurring fashion trends in a Melbourne bar when they decided to "grow a mo", which was not considered trendy at the time.

Inspired by a friend's mother who was fundraising for breast cancer
, the self-proclaimed 'Mo Bros' decided to make use of the challenge to campaign about men's health and prostate cancer.

They invited 30 other men to grow out their moustaches too, and each of them donated AUD10 to the cause.

The Movember Foundation, which became official in 2004, is now the only global charity focused solely on men's health.

2. Today, Movember raises funds and awareness for men's health issues such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer, as well as mental health issues like depression and suicide prevention

By sparking conversations about the illnesses threatening men around the world, the Movember Foundation seeks to not only fund health services and research programmes, but to inspire men to seek help and get tested.

"Always check your balls. Know your usual size. Find out how to check for lumps. Don't skip your body check ups," said Jared, who discovered that he was at risk after casually telling a doctor friend of his that he noticed a slight difference in the size of his testicles.

"Thankfully he could tell that I was in a serious condition based on my vague description."

Image via Movember

"Cancer is something you want to treat as early as possible, so better to be safe than sorry," the YouTuber advised.

3. You don't have to grow out a 'stache to be a part of the global movement

Another key mission of Movember is to break the stigma surrounding men's health.

According to Jared, the responses he received after his video went viral indicated that many men left their conditions to worsen due to shame and a fear of speaking out.

"I think as Malaysians we should all be more open minded to talk about our parts," he told SAYS.

Jared with his wife, Marianne Tan, in his video 'I Have Cancer.'

Image via TheGRIMFILM/YouTube

While many 'Mo Bros' donate money to the Movember foundation for each day that they refrain from shaving, they can also carry out challenges to get physically active in an effort to raise funds.

Friends and family of the challengers are welcome to do the same.

Image via Movember

Find out how to participate in the Movember movement here

Image via GIPHY

For information on what is being done to prevent, detect, and diagnose cancer in Malaysia, or how to volunteer, check out Cancer Research Malaysia.

For emotional support and information on suicide prevention in Malaysia, contact Befrienders.

Jared Lee shared his journey with testicular cancer on YouTube earlier this year to spread awareness on the importance of getting tested:

Meanwhile, 1 in 30 Malaysian women are at risk of breast cancer. Here are 5 self-examination tips we should be practicing monthly:

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