To mo or not to mo?

Untitled design (4)My grandfather started withering away when I was 13. He was 74 and cancer was sapping his strength. I tried to help him up from the toilet but he was stubborn and old fashioned. He screamed at me not to help. He struggled up, but crashed hitting his head on a nearby picture frame. Three days later he died.
Cancer took my hero away.
With Movember approaching, I feel compelled to talk about cancers grip. Its power to crush my hero. He was the first father figure I had. My own father wasn’t around because of his addiction. When I was 10, I moved in with my grandparents and Poppa became the father I never had.
Poppa, or Oscar Baker Sr., was born Jan. 25, 1929. He grew up in the deep segregated south in St. Augustine, Fla. Poppa was a Korean War vet and raised six children during the days of the Jim Crow laws. He refused to succumb to the laws of the land that labelled black people as inferior. Poppa worked three jobs to keep his family afloat.
Forty years later cancer finally crushed him.
I know some moustaches are greasy and the idea of slacktivism is often associated with Movember, but I don’t want someone else’s hero to simply fade away in cancer’s grip.
Men of my grandfather’s time had a demeanor of not wanting help and spending so much time providing for others, they would forget about themselves.
Full disclosure, I participate in Movember myself, but I like it because it sparks conversations. My own hero had one flaw, he couldn’t talk about men’s health.
There are plenty of tips on how to stay healthy. Losing weight, checking cholesterol but also the dreaded prostate check. It’s a little invasive but health experts say it’s necessary. But if men can’t even talk about their health, how can we expect them to get procedures done that can be uncomfortable?
I think it’s important that men understand what’s at stake when they don’t get checked or screened. I want men to catch cancer in time and stop it. I want them to know someone loves them, someone cares and wants them around as long as possible. They need to understand their health is important, not only for themselves but to others as well. I want them to know they are a hero to someone.
Starting these conversations can be hard. Men like my grandfather overcame a lot and it’s hard for them to admit they need help. I’m not sure where it starts or why it happens, but it’s a struggle for many.
I know, for myself, I should probably start by losing weight, and preparing myself to get screened in the future. I understand by a lot of online movements are criticized. People share things without ever knowing why. I just feel compelled to wear a moustache and raise money. I hope it will at least spark one conversation. It would all be worth it, just to save someone’s hero.


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