BY ALLISON BROWN
This movement began in Melbourne Australia in 2003. Can you imagine two friends getting together in a bar and literally dared each other to grow moustaches? So they did. When the second year came around they wanted to give the dare a meaning and decided to grow moustaches to promote awareness of prostate cancer; what they considered the male equivalent to breast cancer.
The “mo.” Australian for moustache has brought forth Movember.
From 2003 to 2015, the participating countries in the movement have grown to Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA and has raised CAD $ 759 million dollars and has funded 1,200 men’s health projects.
These kitchen table ideas that become worldwide movements that put a spotlight on specific diseases have been able to put a dent in the fight against many diseases. Many lives have been saved as a result of people governing themselves and being very proactive. My dilemma is about the diseases that are not being funded either at a governmental level or privately.
Kudos to those who can think and create amidst constraints. What of the voices that are silent? The unheard voices and diseases that no one hears about? Not everyone has the energy, time and/or wherewithal to “fight the good fight”.
This conversation brings to bare that one must be one’s own advocate if at all possible. Navigating the healthcare system can be very daunting. My advice is to ask questions. Write questions down prior to a visit with your family doctor and make notes if you have to, there are so many apps available on phones these days, if the physician or nurse practitioner is not averse to it, see if you can record the conversation. Get the respective practitioner’s permission first.
What used to be an easy process to access family practitioners has become somewhat challenging. Some doctors only work one day a week or the office hours are only half day, so one has to spend a lot of time trying to access the doctor.
Overall, we have a tremendous healthcare system in Ontario that allows for movements to raise awareness and fund some diseases, helping to save lives through early detection, treatment and follow up.
My challenge to you readers is to think about what you would do if you or a family member or friend became challenged or debilitated as a result of disease? Would you try to create a movement? Or join an existing movement? Would you be able to support yourself, your family member or friend? In what capacity could you support? Emotionally, physically, financially and/or spiritually? What are you prepared to do? There is no right or wrong answer, these questions will help to see if you have the capacity to help yourself or another if a healthcare challenge were to occur. If some of the answers you come up with surprise you, what could you do to foster a manageable result. Self-reflection is a skill that could be helpful in the process.
I get it, for most of us it is enough to get up every day and just manage our own day to day challenges. And that is ok. Though sometimes the saviour that we are looking to, to answer our questions lies within us. All one can ask for in deliberating healthcare challenges is that one is transparent with the reality of the situation.
I am dedicating this article to all of my weekly readers. I may not know you all by name yet, but I continue to feel blessed that I have an opportunity to connect with you to share information about healthcare. If you have a topic that you would like to know more about you can contact Toronto Caribbean Newspaper and let us know.