Dozens of Bellevue and Seattle men (and women) raised money for men’s health causes on Nov. 29 by celebrating fuzzy faces.
Bellevue and other regional firefighters helped sponsor the Movember event at Tavern Hall in Bellevue Square, with many of them sporting mustaches, some fake and some gloriously real.
From 6 p.m. to close at the gastropub, people helped raise money for Movember causes while donning their favorite mustachioed costumes at the Movember Charity Gala.
Movember, an annual men’s-health movement during the month of November, raises funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s suicide awareness. Men sport mustaches during the month to bring about conversation for the cause and about men’s preventable deaths.
Brian Gomez, the head of the Tavern Hall event, said the bar donates space for the fundraiser for free. From 5 p.m. until close, Tavern Hall donates 10 percent of all tabs toward Movember’s causes.
“We started it a few years ago with Bellevue firefighters,” Gomez said. “It’s grown to include other local groups.”
Movember was started as a joking fundraiser by a group of friends in Adelaide, Australia in 1999. Men would grow out mustaches and raise money for organizations fighting men’s cancers. Since then, the Movember movement has moved rapidly to other nations.
Last year the fundraising efforts in Puget Sound brought in just under $600,000. The Seattle Mo Community has an active Facebook page.
Gomez said Tuesday’s fundraiser was a good opportunity to raise money for a good cause while having fun doing so.
“Tavern Hall has been one of our greatest advocates and partners,” he said. “They give us the space in the back and donate the funds. We didn’t even ask for that, that was something he offered.”
Marc Chatalas, owner of Tavern Hall, has supported the event since he heard about it several years ago.
Over the last three years, Seattle and Bellevue Movember efforts have raised more than $1.6 million for causes that go less noticed.
Tom Whiteside, representative of the national Movember Foundation in Los Angeles was at the event, sporting a costume from The Big Lebowski.
“The gala party is more about bringing everyone together and showing off your growth,” he said. “The mustaches are supposed to spark conversation all month long about men’s health issues.”
Part of Movember’s message is that men should be aware of their own health, and of cancers that impact men. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer for men in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in seven American men will be diagnosed with the cancer in their lifetimes.
Gomez said that last year the movement added men’s suicide to the list because it too is an under-discussed issue. Men commit suicide three-and-a-half times more likely than women, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and white males accounted for 70 percent of all U.S. suicides in 2014.