Cause Ambassador Story – Heather Mott

Author: Movember
My father has always had a moustache and beard - he was growing proudly even before I was even born. When I was little, I would apparently tell people my father was on the penny…much to my parents’ amusement.  I, however, have genetics working against me as two X chromosomes don’t typically result in a lot of facial hair. Despite my best efforts at concentrating, nothing sprouts and I am always jealous of a good Mo.
I don’t recall how I stumbled across the Movember campaign years ago. I visited the website and was delighted to discover there was a Foundation out there promoting the growth of moustaches to help visually raise awareness for better health of men worldwide.  As a big fan of men and moustaches, I was excited to get involved – which admittedly translated in my female brain to “fake Mo’s and costumes and cupcakes”!  I tried to get the word out through pictures, posts, and sharing the foundation information with friends and family although I hadn’t been directly impacted by prostate cancer or mental health.
That changed about 3 years ago. One warm and sunny California Saturday, I received a phone call from my father that wasn’t the normal catch up – he informed me that he was just diagnosed with prostate cancer.  My father has always been active and tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle so I was surprised that the big “C” had found him when he was only in his early 60s. He shared that it was very early stage and he was going to be working with doctors for next steps.  It turned out that his detection was so early, thanks to awareness of the importance of regular checkups, that he only required active monitoring for nearly a year.  It sounds crazy and almost counter-intuitive, but they had to wait for the cancer to grow enough to be able to treat it.  Once it reached that point and because his detection was so early, he qualified for a specialized program called “CyberKnife” which is a very targeted cancer treatment that mitigates most of the associated negative side-effects.  His treatments occurred during Movember 2016.  His recovery was so minimal the word recovery seems inaccurate – he was back to his regular swimming within a week or so.  He didn’t experience any nausea, fatigue, pain, or other discomforts typically seen when battling cancer.  As of today, he is still doing great and checkups thus far have been all clear.
When I started supporting Movember, I didn’t imagine that I would personally reap the benefits of the foundation.  I viewed it as a more interesting and creative way to support a health initiative.  That is still true but now it has a deeper, more personal meaning for me.  Thanks to awareness through Movember’s efforts, my father was diligent in getting checkups and is a cancer survivor.  I will continue my involvement as long as I can because I owe the Movember Foundation a huge thank you for my father.