Most Movember challenges and fundraising start in November, but GU Movember ambassadors Matt Cornish and Jay Kelman have already raised over £2,000 for the charity and have raised more since the start of the month.
Matt Cornish and Jay Kelman, Glasgow University Muay Thai (GUMT) committee members and GU Movember ambassadors, made it to the top 5 fundraisers for the organisation Movember. Combined, their individual fundraising has exceeded £2,000. Jay recently sat as the top fundraiser in the country after both men completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge on 16 September for Movember.
Movember is the leading charity in the UK changing the face of men’s health. Every November, fundraising and campaigns to grow a moustache happen across the country to raise money and awareness for men’s health. The charity places a specific emphasis on mental health and suicide prevention, prostate and testicular cancers.
Matt and Jay were invited by the charity to become ambassadors for the organisation that works closely with their goals of raising greater awareness for men’s health. This was after both men were significantly involved with Movember fundraising campaigns in 2022.
“Last year we both just did Movember solo as part of GUMT,” Matt said. “Not to brag, but we both smashed it. For me, it was a big thing because I was a fresher and I was trying to make my mark. And Jay loves charity and he loves to win. Charity makes you look good and feel good.”
Jay said, “There weren’t any ambassadors for the University last year and we think that’s a really big missed opportunity. We didn’t think that anyone would be able to do as good a job as we could so we jumped at the opportunity of becoming ambassadors.”
Matt and Jay have helped found the first Movember committee for Glasgow University.
“In previous years, Movember hasn’t had an actual committee, it’s just had ambassadors,” said Matt. “But we were thinking that just having ambassadors and no committee isn’t sustainable or practical. We can’t do everything. So having a committee means that we have representatives from the various unions at Glasgow: GUU, QMU, as well as different clubs.
“Certain sports clubs and unions like GUSA generally do a really good job of fundraising so we’re going to leave them to do their own thing. We’re targeting GUU and QMU to push out Movember to other societies who may not have previously focused on it.”
Matt also emphasised that the issues Movember tackles are not limited to sports clubs: “It’s an issue that extends beyond blokes who play sport; it’s an issue that affects everyone. It affects guys in the jazz society, for example, not just in clubs like rugby.”
This year, Matt and Jay are hoping that as an institution, Glasgow University can raise £50,000 in total to achieve the platinum award for Movember. But the men didn’t wait until November to get any donors to give money to the charity.
“The two of us took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge for Movember,” Jay said. “The charity reached out to us as we had been keen fundraisers last year to see if we wanted to get involved. It was a group of other fundraisers like us completing the challenge. We climbed three mountains in 12 hours. Weather conditions were not ideal on the day – it was pretty brutal. We walked past a viewpoint that had previously been voted the best viewpoint in the UK and I couldn’t see two feet in front of me. That’s how we kicked it off, with the main message being that men’s health isn’t exclusively a one-month topic of discussion, it’s for the entire year.”
Matt and Jay had planned to run the Glasgow half-marathon to further fundraise for Movember, however, Matt has since sustained cartilage damage after the Three Peaks challenge.
Yet, Jay has set himself an ambitious goal for the month of November: “I have set myself a personal challenge for the month but I’m not happy I did it,” he commented. “I said I would run and cycle 100 miles in a month … because I have time for that. I think I’m going to do a 50-50 split between cycling and running.”
Both the ambassadors are encouraging as many Glasgow students as possible to get involved with fundraising for Movember this year.
“We’ve done our big individual challenge, so for us, it’s about running the campaign for the University,” Matt said. “We’re more focused on getting other people to fundraise and not just us. We can only raise so much money and we have raised around £2,000 between us. Mostly Jay. But if we can get 100 people to raise £200, that’s £20k and that’s ten times what we can raise.
“Our challenge is to get the university to £50k with the help of everyone who’s willing to get involved. Everyone should be growing a moustache or raising money for Movember. But getting involved in Movember is much more than growing a stache.”