Movember Jeff Doddio Father's Day
Jeff DoddioImage by: Movember
Movember Jeff Doddio Father's Day
1 June 2021

Mo Bro Jeff Doddio On the Importance of Physical and Mental Health

Jeff Doddio
3 minutes read time

When you're a kid, you look at your dad like he's Superman. He's untouchable, he's strong, he can do anything. To you, as a kid, your dad is invincible. But what happens when he's not?

For me, Movember started as a novelty, something “funny” I could do while being a typical college knucklehead. I loved the idea of having a moustache but was so ignorant to what it actually meant. The year went by, I raised a few hundred dollars, and away went my first year as a Mo Bro.

As the years went by, my Movember story really became more personal as my dad’s health steadily and increasingly declined. My superman started becoming human. His kryptonite came in the form of three strokes, over 30 hospital stays, an amputated leg, battles with diabetes and struggles with mental health. In the blink of an eye, the man I thought couldn't be defeated, was merely a shell of himself.

What made this increasingly difficult ordeal even worse was that all these years I was learning through the help of Movember, all the warning signs I missed with dad. He was the stereotypical man who never took good care of himself. Never someone who vocalized the importance of health to his one son. We never had those crucial conversations of self-checks and regular health upkeep. We simply never discussed it.

Now, I’m getting a firsthand lesson on why it is so important. Having assumed being the power of attorney for my 61 year old dad who now resides in a nursing home full time for the rest of his life only makes me care about Movember more. Now, I have more of a purpose each November. I want to change this backwards ideology of men and the societal norms of men just simply not taking care of themselves. I want to help be a voice that changes the norms of “men need to be strong,” and that it’s somehow perceived as “weak” to admit when you’re not okay. Mental health is something that men have always struggled with, but for some reason as a society we’ve made young men believe they simply shouldn’t talk about it and shouldn’t take the first steps in getting help.

When friends and family express their sympathies for what’s happened with my dad, I thank them and use it as an opportunity to stress the fact that what would really make me happy is for them to take good care of themselves and advise those they care for to do the same. I’ve always used conversation to fundraise. I think it’s the best avenue. Sometimes a simple conversation can be so impactful, and thisFather's Day, my story with my dad can become more empowering than sad.

At this stage in my life, many of my friends are newer dads. I've had the pleasure of seeing guys I've grown up with starting families and seeing the joy in their eyes of having a beautiful child to care for. Even for myself, I can't wait to have kids and don't think I'm too far out from that reality. Being able to help these new dads learn good habits and start the conversation on men's health is so necessary. We often learn things from our parents, and it doesn't always have to be trying to not repeat mistakes, like my situation with my dad.

So, this Father's day, in addition to getting him a new tie, or a nice pack of socks, maybe throw in a meaningful conversation. Have a chat between a parent and a child about how together we can change not only our own lives, but the lives of so many.

" Dadvice: The worst thing in life is wasted talent - Richard Doddio "

For resources on starting important mental health conversations, check out our Movember Conversations tool.