As many eagle eyed rugby fans will have spotted during the Autumn International Series, Ospreys stars have once again thrown their weight behind a campaign that is aiming to change the face of men's health.
The 'Movember' campaign has been encouraging men across the world to 'grow a mo' (moustache) throughout November to raise funds for, and increase awareness of, The Prostate Cancer Charity and after raising more than £3,000 between them last 'Movember', the Ospreys players are aiming to beat that total this time around.
Although Welsh stars like Alun-wyn Jones and Shane Williams have been leading the way amongst the international contingent, boasting beards not seen on a rugby pitch since the days when the late Ray Gravell was in his pomp, away from public gaze back at the Ospreys Llandarcy HQ the competition to cultivate the most stylish topiary has reached epic proportions. Leading the way is Filo Tiatia who is once again spearheading the regional effort, in tribute to his father who beat the illness last year.
"Last year saw a magnificent effort from the squad so this time around it's been even more competitive and there are some really impressive Mo's, beards and sideburns on display in training. I'm sure that supporters are going to be impressed when they see the results of all our efforts, it's not been just about leaving the razor on the shelf for a month and going natural, there has been plenty of time spent in front of the mirror styling and trimming to create some absolute beauties.
Last year we managed to raise more than £3,000 between us which was a fantastic achievement, and we'd love to be able to top that this time around. It's for a fantastic cause and it is one that is very close to my heart so I'm delighted to be able to help raise awareness and much needed funds for The Prostate Cancer Charity. As well as being a worthwhile exercise for the charity, it is also great fun, which everyone can throw themselves into and allows the competitive streak to come out."
Movember is a charity event held worldwide during November each year to raise awareness of what is now the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK. At the start of November, participants known as Mo Bros, register with a clean-shaven face and then have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their Mo, raising as much money and awareness about male health issues along the way.
Every year approximately 35,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 10,000 men die from the disease. A British man has a one in 11 lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer and at least one man dies every hour from the disease in this country. Movember's global fight against prostate cancer is conducted in partnership with the leading prostate cancer charitable organisation in each Mo growing country, with the selected prostate cancer organisation becoming the benefactor of the funds raised by the Movember campaign.
In the U.K. Movember's beneficiary partner is the The Prostate Cancer Charity. Funds raised by Movember will be used by The Prostate Cancer Charity to fund vital research into the causes, treatments and impact of living with prostate cancer, provide information through its website and essential fact sheets including their award winning Tool Kit, a comprehensive and tailor made information pack available to all men diagnosed with prostate cancer and to pay for the Charity's Helpline which is staffed by specialist nurses. The Helpline nurses provide men with prostate cancer and their families with specialist advice and support over the telephone and via e-mail.
Tiatia's Ospreys team-mate Huw Bennett, is one of those supporting the campaign after being crowned Man of Movember 2007 for being top fund raiser last time around. Once again he has spent the month experimenting with his facial hair. He said:
"It's been great fun, everyone has really got into the spirit of things. There's some weird and wacky facial hair in the dressing room and I've got no doubt that people will have a good laugh when they see who has done what to themselves for charity!
It's all good fun though, and the main thing is that it's for a good cause, to raise awareness and funds for a very serious illness which affects a lot of men. As a squad, we are pleased to be able to help in whatever way we can."
Anyone interested in sponsoring Filo and his Ospreys teammates can still do so by visiting http://uk.movember.com/ and entering the team name Ucevember. For further information on The Prostate Cancer Charity please visit http://www.prostate-cancer.org.uk/.