Movember: Grow a ‘stache, Donate some Cash

COLE MCNANNA // OCT. 25 2017 //

Sorry Dollar Beard Club, but I’m going to be taking this month off.

It’s about that time of year where I ditch my beard and embrace the same look my father has since he’s been in high school. I’m not looking forward to leaving my face subject to the elements with the New England weather coming up but this is more than about that 10-minute hike to the quad from the south side of campus.

For some, you kinda know what I’m getting at. For others, you may not know that Prostate Cancer runs in my family and this month I’m going to be raising funds for research that could stop my brother and me from going through the same process my father and his father went through.

Joe (right) and his father, Raymond (left), at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Newport, R.I. //image credit: Cole McNanna

It all started with a homework assignment for a public speaking class, so here’s the plug: school work can actually be beneficial sometimes (you’re welcome, professors). I was able to look into something that meant a lot to me and I found the dudes over at the Movember Foundation who have been doing some pretty cool work.

They have been sporting hairy upper lips for Mental Health and Suicide Awareness as well as Testicular and Prostate Cancer research.

But they’re doing a little more than just that. They’re helping men be confident in going to get themselves checked out for what could be a serious issue.

Most men, from day one are generally taught to be strong and to always protect the ones around them. But the Movember Foundation is trying to alter that perspective in order to protect the body they have been given.

We don’t have to be the brute strength that knocks down a door, but we can be sincere and talk about our feelings. We don’t have to just rub dirt on it, but we should be able to go have a conversation with a professional who knows what they’re talking about.

My dad doesn’t like to leave many things up to others. When it comes to work around the house, he doesn’t hire someone else. When a car has an issue, he gets on his back in the garage to see if he can fix it before talking to a mechanic. I mean, he barely even lets my brother and I help with some things because he is just has a particular way of doing things himself.

However, a doctor’s visit in the fall of 2014 changed that hard-nosed approach. He had to take a step back and evaluate all of the options and how they were going to affect the ones around him. The same way he looks at the back of the house to figure out which piece of siding needs to be changed. But my dad knew he didn’t have to go at this job alone, and he called a huddle with those closest to him.

Mitch and I had just gotten back for Thanksgiving break, he was in his junior year of undergrad at Franklin Pierce and I was fresh off my first few months at Curry, finally back home with the three other people that have been there every step of the way in my life.

Joe with both sons; Mitchel in the middle and Cole in the air circa August 1996 // image credit: Cole McNanna

My dad started to talk about a little health scare he had and I knew this wasn’t going to be a lecture about keeping my grades up. He went on to say a lot of things and knowing my dad, I’m sure he spoke very eloquently, but honestly, I blacked out. I have no other memory than sitting on the couch and trying to listen to my dad’s words while all of these questions were swirling around my head.

What does this mean? What’s going to happen? Is he going to be okay?

After a while I came back and realized that they caught it early enough for there to be plenty of options for attack. Seemingly the best option was a surgery to remove the cancer from his body and then keep an eye on any returners.

In February of 2015, he went under robotic arms that performed the surgery while the actual Surgeon was sitting at a desk maneuvering the da Vinci System several feet away from the operating table.

Joe has made a full recovery since then and being laid up on the couch for a couple weeks allowed him the perspective to evaluate the whole house and he never missed a beat on what to get to next.

Now, he maintains his mustache just as precisely as the MG convertible that he’s also had since he’s been in high school. This month, I’ll ditch my beard and adopt the look my dad has made cool since the first second I laid eyes on him.

Joe’s mustache and his 1978 MG Convertible have been trademarks since graduating high school in 1983 // image credit: Cole McNanna

I won’t be able to deny any claims of “Wow you guys look alike,” now that my face is literally a clone of his. I haven’t shaped my beard since the middle of June and have accustomed to fixing it in class and having it be another thing I need to pay attention to when I roll out of bed trying not to be late for class.

I love my beard and I can’t see any reason as to why all men shouldn’t have one year round. I’ve enlisted in the Dollar Beard Club to receive shipments of beard oil to keep it maintained and growing to its potential.

But for the sake of my prostate, I’m going to be picking up a razor, for at least a couple weeks, and unveil the lower half of my face for the first time since I did this thing last year.

All the while I’ll be on social media and down in the Student Center, looking for donations to help excel cancer research and the overall conversation about Men’s Health.

You don’t have to donate your life savings. At the end of the day, I’m doing this to drive the conversation about Men’s Health and the fact that nobody, no matter how long and magnificent their beard may be, should hide serious health problems in the fear that you’ll be “less of a man” if you admit them.

How’s that saying go, “it’s okay to not be okay”? Well then yeah, it’s cool to tell the world that you’ve got cancer in your testicles. It’s okay to tell the world that you’re not always happy all of the time. You’re not alone. You aren’t the only one who feels that way and it’s okay to succumb to the realization that it’s okay to not be okay.

So, if any of this resonates with you and for some reason you’re still reading this (hey Linds) head over to and take a look at what it’s all about. Any retweet share or conversation started works for me so let’s change the face of Men’s Health.

There’s Still Time to Donate to The Movember Foundation

BY COLE McNANNA // Nov. 28, 2016 //

After all the turkey, all the desserts, all the awkward conversations with family or high school classmates you didn’t want to run into, it’s finally time to shift our focus to the end of the semester.

But not so fast! Swiper no swiping!

There’s still three whole days left in the month of Movember to give a donation or start a conversation about Men’s Health.

And on top of that, there’s three more days for me to fully focus on growing my beard back instead of just focusing on my mustache.

I’ve been going all month long with only a mustache that still has not grown to the same magnitude of my father’s (it’s okay because he’s got 30 years on me). But I’ve also been raising funds for Mental Health, Suicide Awareness and Testicular and Prostate Cancer.

I wanted to make a statement by ditching the beard I and everyone around me had grown so accustomed to over the past year and start fresh in mid-October by turning myself into a hairless cat.

I wanted to start talking about something that meant a lot to me in prostate cancer. I then teamed up with my barber who helped me make that hairless statement, and found causes that were just as crucial.

The McNannna Family; the men showing off their facial hair proudly. // IMAGE BY COLE McNANNA

As I may have mentioned before, my father had prostate cancer two winters ago which has since been fully eradicated. I’ve had the opportunity to make a few speeches about prostate cancer and found out a lot of information.

Like how your odds of getting the disease go up if you have several affected relatives (I have three) and how easy it really is to pass down prostate cancer when it’s been in a family for so long.

Yeah, researchers from the National Center of Biotechnology Information have found that, “In some families, the hereditary pattern is so strong as to mimic an autosomal dominance trait.” So basically the same as passing down blue eyes. But that conversation is a little easier to have.

The Movember Foundation isn’t only attacking Prostate Cancer. They’re also trying to improve mental health to help prevent men from dying too young.

According to their own statistics, on average, around the world, one man commits suicide every minute of every day. Too many men are ‘toughing it out’, keeping their feelings to themselves and struggling in silence.

Andrew Perez, whose father also had prostate cancer, has raised over $10,000 in the eight years since he beat Prostate Cancer. // IMAGE BY MOBRO

Andrew Perez, whose father also had prostate cancer, has raised over $10,000 in the eight years since he beat Prostate Cancer. I couldn’t say it any better myself, but Andrew noted that, “Too many men in America and across the globe believe that they cannot show emotion, believe that they cannot show weakness, believe that they cannot ask for help.”

Like I’ve been telling my Public Speaking class, someone in our lives has been affected by one of these issues one way or another. Maybe you have, maybe your cousin has, maybe your best friend’s uncle’s son’s nephew has; who knows? Only you.

So maybe you don’t have money to give me, that’s completely fine, I understand. We’re all in college and it ain’t easy. In that case, I ask you to follow my social media and stimulate conversations about these causes.

Sometimes, those simple conversations make leaps and bounds to those affected. Any little effort to move forward does more than you’d think.

So give me a penny, give me one, two, 20 dollars it doesn’t matter. It’s not all about the money, it’s about the conversation.

Stop shaving, share the link, retweet me, like my selfie, do all of it, do none of it…Just don’t stop talking about Men’s Health. Help us stop men from dying too young.

Come see me at the Student Center tomorrow, Nov. 28th, from 4:30-7 and Wednesday from 1:30-4:30.

Follow me on Instagram @colemcnanna7 and Twitter @CMac217, and visit my cause at

Donate to the Movember Foundation to Change the Face of Men’s Health

BY COLE MCNANNA // OCT. 28, 2016 //

There are plenty of good reasons to grow out your facial hair, most importantly to make you look like a stud. But this November, it also means you can also donate money to causes that affect men around the world…while looking like a stud.

In association with the Movember Foundation, I want to help change the face of Men’s Health.

I know I can’t get it done all on my own so I asked the man who has been shaping up my beard for the last year to help raise awareness for a cause during No Shave November.

Nic Alexander, of the Chop Shop in Milford, Massachusetts, and I connected with the Movember Foundation to help address “some of the biggest health issues faced by men: mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.”

You can donate to my mo space at // IMAGE CREDIT: COLE MCNANNA //


These are all important topics that need attention.

Nic is raising awareness of the Suicide rate around the world in men who are ‘toughing it out’ by keeping their feelings to themselves and struggling in silence.

I chose a topic closest to me; Prostate Cancer. For those of you who know me, you may know that my father had Prostate Cancer my freshman year but successfully had a surgery to remove it. For those of you who didn’t know, well, like Biggie said, “Now ya know…”

Together, Nic and I created team Metro-West Mythical Mustaches, and you can use the link to donate to either cause; or both! Every little bit helps, and no donation is too small.

The only way a donation can be too small is if you’re the only one talking about it. Share, invite friends, family or coworkers. Brag about your patchy facial hair and donate to help keep men from dying too young.


You can use the link to read more about our cause and donate right there, or you can come talk to me walking around campus showing off my mustache that will likely never be as glorious as my father’s. And be sure to keep your eyes out for my table at the Student Center in the coming weeks.

You can read more about the Movember Foundation right here and get started growing your facial hair. If you start to hate it, Nic can give you a trim at the Chop Shop, just off Route 495 in Milford. If Nic is booked, other barbers will be available to fix it up.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you to join the cause, my house is only ten minutes down the road, and as a special incentive, the top 3 donors will be invited to a traditional Italian meal, home-made by my beautiful mother.

Grow, Donate, Share, Talk, Donate some more, and keep men from dying too young. Together we can work to help some serious issues that men face.