Former England international Rob Lee and his sons Elliott and Olly are all sporting extra facial hair during November to promote a cause close to their hearts, prostate cancer.
Rob, who also played for Charlton Athletic, Newcastle United, Derby County and West Ham United as well as representing his country in the 1998 World Cup, was inspired to grow a Mo after father Reg had surgery to combat the disease a year ago.
Sons Olly and Elliott, of West Ham United, are also participating. The trio got together recently at the family home in Hornchurch to compare Mo’s as well as highlighting the important message of prostate cancer.
Rob said: “My Mo is a bit black and white at the moment, like Newcastle’s colours. I’ve gone for a Hulk Hogan handlebar style this year and I’ve certainly got a few knowing looks from people when I’m walking down the street.
“It’s a great initiative though. It was always seen as a macho thing to grow a moustache, yet men are still too macho to visit their doctor. It really doesn’t take much to consult your GP if you have concerns. It takes minutes and could save your life.
“Prostate cancer affects one in eight men and if you catch it early enough treatment can be successful. If you leave it, as guys do, it can be a killer.”
With prostate cancer killing one man every hour, Prostate Cancer UK’s Men United campaign aims to put the spotlight on the disease and encourage men everywhere to wise up and take action.
Through the efforts of Movember men up and down the country have been sprouting unfamiliar facial follicles in a light-hearted nod to a powerful cause.
On the continued recuperation of father Reg, 72, Rob added: “The doctors had been monitoring my father’s diagnosis for a few years and around 12 months ago it was decided that the best course of action was to remove the prostate.
“He’s on the road to recovery now and it’s certainly made us more aware when someone you are close to or family gets any form of cancer. The minute it starts intruding into your family you take a massive interest.”
Olly, 22, has joined several of his Blues teammates in their quest to raise awareness with the ‘Bluemoses
’ aiming to repeat their feat of 2012 when raising more than £11,000, the best in The Football League. Also among the squad is skipper Paul Robinson, Tom Adeyemi, Andy Shinnie and Paul Caddis.
Olly noted: “It’s a brilliant way to promote a great cause, and a few of the lads at Birmingham have also got on board so it’s slightly less embarrassing.
“We are a close-knit family, and the news about my granddad affected us all. I always saw him as invincible, but he’s faced it head on and has come out the other side.
“Cancer seems to be a bit of a taboo word. People don’t want to say it as they are scared of it but now I’m aware of prostate cancer and through the work of Prostate Cancer UK and Movember we are trying to raise as much awareness to the cause as we can.”
To sponsor Olly's hair-raising effort with the Bluemoses click here
Younger sibling Elliott, 18, added: “I’ve always grown more facial hair than Olly so there’s always a bit of banter going on there. He gets a bit jealous, while dad’s looks black and white!
“It’s a unique and light-hearted way to promote a great cause – and hopefully raise money as well. It was a shock to find out about my granddad but it’s great seeing he is fine now. A lot of credit has to go to Movember and Prostate Cancer UK as well. They do a great job of raising awareness.”
Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, Mark Bishop, commented, said: "It’s great that Movember are supporting the work of Prostate Cancer UK. Footballers sporting moustaches are now commonplace during the month and supporters up and down the country will be able to watch their heroes visibly getting behind the fight to promote men’s health issues.
“Prostate cancer kills one man every hour in the UK with one in eight men likely to be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lifetime and the disease has affected the Lee family. It’s great they are involved in promoting awareness, and we want to be there for all men.”
To register for Prostate Cancer UK’s regular football newsletter packed full of all the latest Men United news and features by the finest football writers on the web visit prostatecanceruk.org/football
. Sign up today to be in with the chance to win a pair of tickets to the Capital One Cup Final.
If you have concerns about prostate cancer please call Prostate Cancer UK's confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383 or visit www.prostatecanceruk.org
. The helpline is free to landlines, staffed by specialist nurses, and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays.