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Movember and the Power of Community

November has come to a close. For most people, this means the cold edge of winter taking hold and the start of the holiday season, but for almost half a million men around the world, it means finally shaving off ridiculous moustaches we've been cultivating for the past month and celebrating a remarkable $56 Million raised for a great cause. Sound bizarre? Welcome to Movember.

The official Movember web site describes the charity event better than I can;

"The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember.

Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month. The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia. The plan was simple – to bring the moustache back as a bit of a joke and do something for men’s health. No money was raised in 2003, but the guys behind the Mo realized the potential a moustache had in generating conversations about men’s health. Inspired by the women around them and all they had done for breast cancer, the Mo Bros set themselves on a course to create a global men’s health movement."

Movember is a global movement, growing at a staggering rate year over year, and is making an incredible impact on cancer awareness and research through the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Lance Armstrong's LiveStrong foundation. With a shocking 1 in 2 men diagnosed with cancer of some type and 1 out of 6 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes, Movember gives men a chance to do something to address a health issue that will affect every single one of us.

The explosion of Movember sounds a lot like the story of Drupal's growth around the world; a community committing to a common cause, trying to change their world for the better, and doing it in a way that's friendly, fun, and more than a little punk. Back in October I decided to organize a team for Acquia and our other compatriots in the Dupal community. No pressure, just something we could do as a group of friends that would give us some laughs and let us do some good. To be honest, I really did not expect it to go very far. I thought maybe we'd get a handful of people to sign-up, that perhaps we'd raise a couple thousand bucks, and we'd get a few laughs at each other as we gave up our dignity in exchange for fundraising. I could not have been more wrong.

The team now includes 28 Mo-Bros and Mo-Sistas, including both Acquians and a solid contingent of other Drupalists from around the world. As of today, our team -- the Fu ManDrupals -- have raised a remarkable $20,000 and are trying like mad to break $25k through last minute donations. We're now ranked 25th nationally as a team!

Even more remarkable is what our CEO, Tom Erickson accomplished. I may have organized our start, but it's really Tom that stepped in as spiritual leader and coach for the team. Not only did he grow a bitchin' Tom Selleck 'stache, but he pushed us again and again to go above and beyond to raise funds. Not only did he inspire us to crush our original goal of breaking $10k, but he raised more than $10,000 just on his own! Tom's family and incredible network of friends probably won't open any more e-mails from him at this point, but it netted him a top 5 spot in the US. What an awesome job!

I see the results from this past month as not just a testament to our Movember team, but also reflects the Drupal community we are grounded in. All of the things we value as a community came into play -- the DIY ethic, personal contribution, collaboration for the greater good, diversity, and a strong sense of humor -- and that's what made the difference. I am incredibly proud to be a part of such a fantastic team and community of people.

I'd like to send a final thanks to the team, and to everyone who donated to this great cause. Looking forward to recruiting even more of you to join us next Movember! Cheers!

UPDATE: December 10, 2010

Movember officially came to a close at 5pm ET last night, and the final tally is in on funds raised. The Fu ManDrupals raised a remarkable $33,581, placing us in 12th in the US for fund raising! Our CEO, Tom Erickson, managed to finish in 2nd in the US for individual fund raisers, having brought in $22,799! More importantly, the charity overall raised $67 Million to help fight cancer. Please join us next year as we rally together to raise even more for this fantastic cause!