By Daniel Rodrigues, Third Year, Engineering Design
What is the thing that you are proudest of doing this month? For some of you, this might have been meeting an important deadline, having done well in an assignment, or perhaps having won a match at your preferred sport. For me, the answer is choosing to get involved with Movember.
For those who haven’t heard of Movember, it is a campaign aimed at raising awareness and funds for men’s health, particularly for testicular cancer, prostrate cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. I decided to commit to the campaign’s mental health branch, as while I am in a good place now, I have not always been this way, suffering from severe Anorexia Nervosa, a mere two years ago.
This condition is typically only presented as effecting young girls; however it also emasculates and isolates men who are struggling at the time they most need support. I was thankfully able to overcome my eating disorder with appropriate support from friends, family, and medical professionals, hence finding myself more determined and motivated than ever before to give back to this vital cause that resonates so greatly with myself.
So what have I pledged to do during the campaign? Well, apart from growing a moustache, I pledged to run 100km over the month. I’m by no means a competent runner, and so I knew from the outset that this would be a difficult commitment, but also saw the benefit of trying in order to engage with a different demographic of sponsors. And I can honestly say that it has been no easy task sticking to my pledge, especially when juggling the runs around an Industrial Placement and other commitments.
Time management has perhaps been the most difficult thing, having to set aside around an hour per day to complete the runs and the appropriate warm-up routines. To my pleasant surprise, the runs themselves haven’t been too bad though, especially when the weather holds up. Even heavy downpour is still manageable, as while you need to endure the initial soaking, you can’t really get any more wet after that, so it’s only a matter of perseverance.
'Anorexia Nervosa emasculates and isolates men who are struggling at the time they most need support'
Perhaps it is my choice of scenic route (around the Harbourside), or my decision to listen to music, but whatever it is, I find that the running can be quite enjoyable, relaxing, and even therapeutic, and would certainly recommend it in any capacity that you feel comfortable with.
Sure, you can feel out of breath towards the end of the run, but there is no better feeling than the euphoria after completing a run you didn’t think you could manage, or achieving a personal best for your favoured route, not to mention the other benefits to both your physical and mental health.
Running was going great for me. I had managed to get into some sort of routine and had mustered the strength and endurance to cover 5 miles a day, taking me halfway to my target distance within the first week alone.
However, this was progress was not to last, managing to injure my leg at the end of the week, and therefore having to stop the runs until it I had recovered. This was no easy decision, effectively going back on a promise that I had made to all my sponsors and myself. However, I did what had to be done, and as in all fundraising activities, your health is the most important thing, with the intention behind the actions carrying far greater worth and value than the actual accomplishments.
'It it has been no easy task sticking to my pledge'
I’m happy to say that the time off is helping my leg to recover, and while I hope to meet my target, I will not hold myself accountable if my own wellbeing and health prevents me from achieving this. At the time of writing, I am nearing the end of the campaign with a somewhat thick moustache, £605 raised, and hopefully a wide audience reached.
Movember is such a great cause, so I’d strongly encourage you to take part in any way you can, whether it be donating, taking part, sharing a post, or even just reflecting on these issues, as only together can we change the face of men’s health forever.
Featured Image: @MovemberUK
Head over to the Movember website to donate to causes, including Daniels, whilst they are in their final stretches of the campaign