'Movember' ends for these 'mo-bros'

COSTA MESA — First with trimmers, then lather and a razor, members of Costa Mesa's "Team Nuclear" celebrated a month of growing facial hair for charity this week with a clean shave.

"When my wife didn't kiss me for 30 days … OK, I have to shave this thing off," Team Nuclear founder John Cornuke said. "It's so liberating. (The mustache is) just so uncomfortable, (but) it's a constant reminder of why you're doing it."

But in that temporary inconvenience there was a segue to talk about a subject guys are far too often uncomfortable to broach: health.

Thanks to Movember, a national campaign that encourages men to grow their own "mo," or mustache, in November, organizers aim to bring awareness to men's prostate cancer and other male health issue.

"I went up to Seattle for Thanksgiving and the Starbucks barista was a 'mo-bro,'" said Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick. "At a mall, the art of shaving there was part of Movember. I drop my kids off at school, on the way back up I was in constant dialogue with parents saying, 'Hey, how's it going? I'm trying to get my husband to get educated and donate.'"

Last year, Team Nuclear was all of 18 friends who wanted to try and be productive for once as a group, Cornuke said.

The group raised $36,000, more than any first-time group.

This year, the group had 90 members and raised more than $82,000, making it the third-biggest fundraiser in the United States and No. 14 in the world.

"We handed out 5,000 business cards," Fitzpatrick said. "We had some events where doctors spoke about men's health. I do believe we raised awareness because of the number of discussions we had. … A lot of doctors were telling us we were a little bit too young for [a prostate exam]. Education drove us all to the doctor."

And like their mo's, the goal is to only grow the event next year. The group said they'll look for corporate sponsorship, and Councilman Steve Mensinger wants to expand it to the Estancia High School football team.

"One guy asked me, 'When are you going to stop sending me requests for donations?' " Cornuke said. "I said, 'When they cure cancer.'"



Twitter: @JosephSerna

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