Since it was founded in 2003, Movember has expanded into a global charity initiative with men growing mustaches for the month of November to raise awareness for men’s health issues. In 2012, more than 1.1 million people joined the movement, raising $147 million for men’s health programs that tackle prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges.
But now there’s a new face of Movember, and it’s not a bro with a “mo” ... it's a lass with a "stache." Meet Sarah O'Neill, a British woman whose polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) causes her to grow facial hair. For the month of November, O’Neill is dispensing with her usual depilatory regime in order to raise awareness about PCOS.
The 29-year-old said she was taking the challenge in the hope that people might better understand the health problem. With PCOS, women have an imbalance of female sex hormones; although symptoms vary, they can include excessive hair growth, infertility, thinning hair, obesity and acne.
"I wasn't diagnosed with PCOS until I was 22, but I had been used to the stares for years,” she told The Guardian. After six days, she said, "It's very liberating not having to spend half an hour sorting my mustache out.”
"At the minute, it's temporary," she added. "But who knows how I'll feel at the end of the month?"
Watch O'Neill in the video below as she shaves for the first time to kick off the month in proper fashion:
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- Movember: The hairy truth about the moustache [Infographic]
- Mustache transplants are the new big thing