Movember is back with a bang

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This November, men in the Western Isles are being asked to help raise awareness of men’s cancers and men’s health by growing themselves their very own ‘Mo’ (moustache).

‘Mo Bros’, as they are better known, are encouraged in October to sign up at Movember.com, and then on the 1st of ‘Movember’, with a clean-shaven face, start their ‘Mo’ growing journey. Then, for the entire month, these selfless and generous Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for 30 days. Through their growing efforts, they are able to raise awareness for the often ignored issues of men’s health, by prompting conversations wherever they go.

To promote Movember locally, NHS Western Isles has teamed up with a range of groups and organisations to offer a variety of events, with all funds raised being donated towards local men’s cancer charities.

But did you know that Movember is not just for men - the women of Movember, known as ‘Mo Sistas’, play a vital role in the success of Movember by supporting and encouraging the men in their life to get involved. Essentially, Mo Sistas do everything that Mo Bros do, but without a Mo!

With cancer being one of the biggest killers in Scotland, the disease has a ‘ripple’ effect, impacting on everyone when you, a family member, friend or colleague has been diagnosed.

Almost 43,000 men are diagnosed with a form of male-specific cancer each year in the UK. For males, the most common cancers are prostate cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer, accounting for 53% of cancers in males.

Other common male cancers include: testicular, trachea, head and neck, bladder, oesophagus, stomach, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, malignant melanoma of skin, and kidney.

More recently, a national health campaign highlighting the signs and symptoms of Lung Cancer has been launched. The campaign, which stresses the importance of staying vigilant of continued or persistent health problems, encourages those with a persistent cough to visit their GP and help detect cancer early.

The only locally based cancer support group for men, the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group, is now in its fifth year and continues to offer confidential advice, information and support to men, and their families and friends, living with or affected by cancer in the Western Isles.

Through donations, the group has been able to provide valuable aid by helping local men and their families affected by cancer. This has included practical help, for example, providing contributions towards additional costs associated with travel and accommodation when receiving cancer treatments.

The group continues to expand its membership and, at present, is encouraging men of all ages affected by cancer to contact them. The group offers a drop-in at the Bayhead Retirement Centre every Friday from 2pm-4pm and is considering expanding men’s involvement by having roadshow meetings in Ness, Tarbert, Uist and Barra. For further information about the group please visit: www.hebmenscancer.com

All funds raised through the following Movember events will be donated to local men’s cancer charities:

n Friday, November 15, the annual ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Quiz Night is being held at

Stornoway Golf Club at 7.30pm. Teams made up of any four males or four females (no mixed teams) over the age of 18 are encouraged to register in advance by November 8, by telephoning (01851) 762017. Entry is £10 per team.

On Saturday, November 16, the ‘Old Firm Friendly’ 11-a-side is being held at Tarbert Football Pitch at 1pm. Entrants must be aged 16+ and all ‘WAGs’ are welcome too! Those wishing to reserve their place are asked to contact Coinneach Morrison, tel. 0797 124 8529 or email: coinneach@isle-of-harris.com

On Saturday, November 23, the inaugural Men’s 5K will take place from Stornoway Golf Club at 1pm. Individuals and three-man teams of varying fitness levels are encouraged to take part and either walk, jog or run. Registration forms are available from the Lewis Sports Centre and entrance fees are: Adults (over 18) £5, Under 18s (over 12s) £3 and teams £10. Specially designed T-shirts will also be available to purchase, and it is hoped that a large number of entrants will race wearing their own specially grown ‘Mo’.

An evening dance titled ‘Fifty Shades of Red!’ is to be held in the Stornoway Golf Club on November 23. A popular local band will be performing (to be announced) from 9.30pm onwards, and all are welcome to attend to help further support the Movember cause. A £3 entry fee will be charged, however those who competed in the Men’s 5K and men sporting a specially grown ‘Mo’ will be admitted free of charge.

Finally, the forthcoming 3x30 Challenge, to be launched shortly, will encourage everyone to commit to walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, or even kayaking, for 3K each day for 30 days in a row. Those intending to take part in the Men’s 5K are being encouraged to sign up to the 3x30 Challenge, to help further build up their stamina in advance of the 5K.

So whether you’re planning to style your ‘Mo’ as a natural, handlebar, goatee, imperial or even a fu manchu, or are a Mo Sista supporting your man, let’s all help raise valuable funds and promote Movember in the Western Isles in style!