Heather Mott is one of the Movember Foundation’s top fundraisers.
Prostatepedia spoke with her about raising money for men’s health.
How did you become involved with Movember?
Ms. Mott: This is my sixth year participating as a Mo Sista and raising funds for the cause. I don’t remember exactly how I heard about it, but I think it was through social media. It sounded interesting and fun and it benefits men’s health, so I started doing it.
When I started, Movember was more focused on prostate and testicular cancers, but now they’ve branched out into mental health awareness and healthy lifestyle activities.
How can a woman participate?
Ms. Mott: It is easy to get involved – all you have to do is sign up on their website. I try to do a different photo every day of the month. Since I am genetically-challenged to grow my own mustache, I usually order fake moustaches and take some selfies. Sometimes friends help me.
I’ve tried doing themes with some common factor across the different photos. For example, my theme for this year’s Movember campaign is photos of individuals in a role that serves the community. Today, I posted a photo with a Navy backdrop, thanking all those who serve or have served in the Navy. I’ve posted backgrounds with other public servants like teachers, those in the justice system, or first responders.
What kind of themes have you used in the past?
Ms. Mott: One year I had the different individuals from the Village People who sing the YMCA song. I had a cop, a construction worker, and all that. There hasn’t been a real rhyme or reason to the themes, just whatever strikes me that year.
How do you get people to join your team?
Ms. Mott: When I started, I didn’t join a team. Then the next year my company, Johnson & Johnson (I’m at the Los Angeles Neutrogena facility) started a team. I joined them and this is our fifth year. We have new people each year and some reoccurring partners. We do a lot of recruiting onsite and there is some friendly competition. We have all kinds of events over the course of the month.
Has your involvement in Movember had an impact on your community?
I started with Movember because I thought it was an interesting way to raise awareness and help fund research. Then, about three years ago, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thanks in part to Movember awareness, he caught it so early that he was able to do active monitoring for a year. There wasn’t enough cancer to treat.
Last year, he went through treatment. Because he caught it so early, he went through a program called CyberKnife. He has had hardly any side effects, no pain, nausea, nothing that people tend to associate with cancer treatment.
My involvement in Movember impacted me personally and made a big difference in my father’s life.
Would he have waited to be screened if you hadn’t been involved with Movember?
Ms. Mott: He’s been a pretty healthy and health-conscious individual throughout his life, so he is pretty diligent about getting his annual checkups. Once he got to a certain age and was a little bit more aware, it definitely helped him. It helped him network, understand treatment options, and talk to others about it. I know that that’s something Movember is big on, raising awareness. There are networks out there to help you when you find out you have cancer. He was nervous at first, so it definitely helped him get through all of it. It helped him be conscious that it’s important to get these checkups, especially at a certain age.
Does he participate in Movember along with you?
Ms. Mott: He is a very active supporter, but he doesn’t have his own Mo Space or anything like that.
You should set him up.
Ms. Mott: [laughs] I know. He’s always had facial hair.
He was already growing the moustache?
Ms. Mott: Yes. He was growing long before.
Do you have any thoughts for men or women who want to fundraise for Movember?
Ms. Mott: I would love to see even more Mo Sistas, because we all have men we love in our lives. I became aware of Movember through social media, so I’m always posting through my social media platforms.
But I’ve also done some bake sales at a community brewery and I worked with local businesses to get the word out.
Is it worth trying to get your company or place of work to organize a team?
Ms. Mott: Yes. I work at a large company, so a lot of individuals here care about health. That has made it easier for us to have a team each year.
Last year, our goal was to raise $10,000; we raised about $13,750. It does help partially that I work with a large company, but this is something anybody can get behind.
We all know at least one man who’s at least had a scare, right?
Ms. Mott: Yes.
Does your team have events throughout the month, or is it mainly just about getting together and raising as much money as you can?
Ms. Mott: We have events. I’m co-leading our team here onsite this year. We have a Shave Off kick-off each year where all of the guys signed up come, and since we make men’s care products, they do a shave off together.
We then host different fundraising activities. This year we have a lot of healthy activity initiatives at Johnson & Johnson. We’re doing some yoga and a Ping-Pong competition. People can buy-in to donate to the team; there will be some prizes at the end of the tournament.
We do different activities each year to keep it fun, engaging, and to generate funds. Johnson & Johnson has a culture of supporting these types activities and there are other ways for companies to help. Companies often match donations.
Any last thoughts for men who might want to participate?
Ms. Mott: It’s so easy to sign up and get involved. It’s such a fun activity. Movember is a very engaging group. Their United States headquarters is in Culver City, CA—right next to us.
It’s a great way for men to touch base in a less formal environment, and it definitely builds a network, so that should you get diagnosed, you have others who understand, can offer support, and who have maybe been through it themselves.