Jack cooper posing to camera
Jack's story: Brave the shaveImage by: Jack Cooper
Jack cooper posing to camera
12 June 2024

Jack's story: Brave the shave

2 minutes read time

As teenagers, my friends and I joked about the idea of growing tashes. At that time, I didn’t know much about Movember; I thought it was just about having a bit of fun.

It wasn’t until several years ago, during my first year at university, that I first decided to brave the shave. I still didn’t know about Movember’s mission, but after some research, I discovered the profound impact of their cause.

Just a few days after shaving clean, I committed to running 100km that month to raise funds.

The running bug

Before then, I hadn’t done much running so 100km was a tough challenge. It really tested me, and although I thought I hated it at the time, I later found out I had caught the running bug!

Every year since, I’ve grown my moustache to show solidarity with men’s mental health.

Last Movember, I decided to fundraise again, taking on an even bigger challenge - running 500km in 30 days, followed by a 60km ultramarathon the next day.

This year, I'm undertaking my biggest challenge yet. I am running 3,000km from Athens to London.

I’m excited to raise the stakes again and truly push my physical and mental limits. We haven’t even reached the start line and I’ve already faced injuries and countless logistical nightmares!

The young boy I used to be

When I reflect on why I participate in Movember, I think of the young boy I used to be.

Growing up, I struggled immensely with confidence, anxiety, depressive episodes and loneliness. I was terrified to talk about my mental state; opening up took a lot of stressful deliberation.

Even now I still battle with my mental health, occasionally dealing with panic attacks and feelings of loneliness. I know first-hand how alienating it can be to struggle mentally and how difficult it can be to reach out to those around you for support and guidance.

My turning point came when I started going to the gym for the first time. As I gained confidence in my appearance, that spilled over into my personality, helping me manage my anxiety and become more self-assured.

Nothing changes if nothing changes

My advice to anyone struggling is nothing changes if nothing changes. Throughout school I felt trapped by my mental struggles, but trying something new, like working out or journaling, helped me find a way to cope, improve, and ultimately change the trajectory of my life. I want you to know that everyone is capable of taking charge of their own journey. It's not easy, but small steps lead to significant improvements. You’re not alone in this, and there’s always hope for a better tomorrow.