For the second year, county Commissioner Bob Ott is leading a team aiming to put the fun in fundraising for prostate cancer research by participating in the international effort known as Movember.
The fun comes as “Mo Bro” participants, as they are called, start with a clean-shaven face at the beginning of the month, then let their mustaches grow.
“There will be some interesting mustaches growing,” Ott said, as he laughed with members of his team Thursday. “And we’re laughing and joking because it’s fun, but it’s also important because a lot of people’s friends or family members have had prostate cancer.”
The cause certainly hits home for Ott, whose father died of prostate cancer in December 2008. Last year, Ott’s team LCAA (for Leadership Cobb Alumni Association) raised $7,050. All proceeds go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Commissioner Woody Thompson is joining Ott for the second year in a row, and their team has grown to a group of about 20. There are even some “Mo Sistas” signed up.
The idea for Movember began in Australia in 2003, when a few guys decided to bring the mustache back as a joke and use it to grow awareness for men’s health, according to the Movember website, www.us.movember.com.
“In 2009, global participation of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas climbed to 255,755, with over one million donors raising $42 Million US equivalent dollars for Movember’s global beneficiary partners,” according to the website.
Melissa Haisten, an attorney with Sams, Larkin & Huff in Marietta, is one of LCAA team’s two Mo Sistas.
“My father-in-law had prostate cancer, so this was a cause I wanted to join. But I will be shaving,” she said with a laugh.
Mazi Mazloom, a Marietta attorney, said he joined Ott’s team again this year because of the fun the team had growing their ‘staches last year – some good, some not so good – and because his father died prostate cancer in 1999.
Ott’s team includes Alexis Taylor, Brett McClung, Bruce Doberstein, Don Massaro, James Balli, Jason Waters, Justin Meeks, Robert Parker, Shane Cannon, Wade Kelly, and a few others that Ott said have not yet signed up on the website. As of Friday, the team had raised $785.
In October, Ott challenged the county’s public-safety workers to form teams and compete to see who could raise the most money. Many firefighters have taken up the challenge, said Sam Heaton, Cobb’s Fire Chief and acting Public Safety Director. He created the group Cobb Fire on the Movember website.
“I’ll be issuing a challenge to (Cobb Police) Chief John Houser next week to try to get some competition going. I think competition is great, especially if it’s for a good cause. But a lot of our guys are just going to be raising money because they already have moustaches and those things are groomed and trimmed after years and years of growing. You better believe those aren’t getting shaved,” Heaton said, with a laugh.
Dr. Michael Andrews, chief cancer network officer for WellStar Health System, said no one really knows for sure what the risk factors for prostate cancer are, though genetics play a huge role in determining if a man is at low or high risk of developing the cancer.
Those with two or more direct relatives who have had prostate cancer are at very high risk, Andrews said, and though no particular age is set for when a man should start getting screened for prostate cancer, some at very high risk may need to begin as early as 40, and others should ask their doctors about screening around age 50.
“Prostate cancer stands in the more treatable category of cancers because, with screening, it is an early disease and patients can often be treated with surgery or radiation for a cure with reasonably good cure rates,” Andrews said. “For patients who have cancer that has spread in the body, prostate cancer often times can be slow-moving in nature. There are treatments that are hormonal that can lower testosterone levels, medications or removal of the testicles, that can put a patient remission for prolonged periods of time.”
Although Andrews said prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men, it is not as fatal as some other cancers, such as lung cancer.
“There’s a fairly high level of awareness of the disease because it is so common,” Andrews said. “But men are not very good health consumers as a group, so a lot of men aren’t screened, and that’s why it’s important to continue to raise awareness, to have that conversation with your doctor and understand your family history.”
To donate to Ott’s team or any of the individual members, go to http://us.movember.com/mospace/2535/ or donate money to the members who will then add the donation amount to his or her profile. To donate to Cobb Fire, go to http://us.movember.com/mospace/1044100/.