Milmeq is partaking in Movember as part of a company fundraiser for the Movember Foundation which funds over 1,000 programmes focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.
Milmeq have challenged 40 male staff members across its Auckland and Dunedin offices to grow their most creative moustache in support of creating awareness of men's health and wellness issues.
Milmeq CEO Mike Lightfoot is leading the charge and has set the team a target of raising $3,000. If this is reached he will allow them to shave off his hair as well as his moustache at the end of the month.
Men's health awareness is particularly important to Mr Lightfoot who 12 years ago sought medical assistance for stomach cancer.
"I had a very large scare whereby I ignored the signs and didn't visit a doctor. When I finally sought help I was rushed to hospital and needed a blood transfusion due to a burst cancerous tumour in my stomach. I had two major surgeries removing a third of my stomach and five years of scans and ongoing medical treatment," explains Mr Lightfoot.
"I was one of the lucky ones who was cleared, but it made me realise my ignorance could have killed me," he adds.
That experience prompted Mr Lightfoot to join the board of New Zealand Men's Health Trust, which he served on for three years, helping to promote men's health awareness and speaking at events throughout New Zealand about the importance of early diagnosis.
The fundraising event has incurred some heated competition between the Auckland and Dunedin Milmeq offices with a contest as to who can get the greatest number of employees on board for the cause.
"Things like this bring everyone together; across Milmeq and our communities we are all working towards the same outcome. It's a joint effort and everyone is making a difference," Mr Lightfoot says.
Staff are encouraged to purchase tokens and use them to vote for who they think is sporting the winning moustaches throughout the month, with prizes for whoever exhibits the best growth and most creatively groomed moustache.
As an added incentive the office that raises the most will be shouted morning tea at the conclusion of the month.
"Along with raising money for charity, the aim of the fundraiser is to equip our employees with knowledge about the importance of regular check-ups and to ensure they are aware of their choices across all areas of wellness, both for them and their families, and you can't really put a price on that," says Mr Lightfoot.
Mr Lightfoot has encouraged Milmeq staff to reach out to their fathers, brothers, sons, friends, and workmates to go get a check-up. "I now ensure I have full blood tests done every six months. It's just not worth the risk," he adds.