9 November 2015

John Ashord is a Mo Bro from way back who has battled depression, and a lame Mo, en route to raising over $10,000 for Movember.

John Ashford
John Ashord is a Mo Bro from way back who has battled depression, and a lame Mo, en route to raising over $10,000 for the Movember Foundation. We sat down in the Mo HQ library to talk Platinum Club membership, running the City2Sea with a whispy moustache and the power of a conversation.

Movember: When did you first hear about Movember?
John: I first heard of Movember from a TV advert 6 years ago, in 2009. Straight away I thought it sounded like an awesome idea, especially as I was battling with depression at the time. For me, to have the chance to raise funds to help others who were struggling with mental illness like myself in the fun, Movember way - I was all for it!
Movember: Why is men’s health important to you?
John: I suffered from mental illness (depression mainly) for approximately 5 years. I was ashamed and felt unable to share this with those around me, instead choosing to suffer in silence. I was seeing a psychologist who recommended I try something different so I decided to grow a Mo for Movember.

Seeing Movember do their best to bring mental health into the conversations between guys and remove that stigma is just fantastic. If I felt less ashamed, I might have spoken up sooner. As such, it’s important for me to get the word out there - and why it’s so important to discuss men’s health openly.

Movember: What is your most memorable Movember moment?
John: It's a close call between finishing the City2Sea 15km run the year before last or raising my first $1,000 and joining the Platinum Club back in 2009. Also seeing my mate Jonny win Lame Mo at the Melbourne Gala 2 years back to back is up there!

Movember: How does being a Platinum Club member make you feel?
John: Every year my goal is to raise the $1,000 to join the Platinum Club. This Movember will be 7 years of Platinum Club membership on the trot and I’m aiming for 10 years. Having said that, it’s been more about the fun that you have and the stories I’ve shared.

Movember: You mentioned completing the City2Sea, do you think it’s important to MOVE?
John: Out of all the things I tried to tackle my depression, nothing made as much of an impact as exercising. Exercise didn’t do me any harm and was much better than any medication.

Movember: Has Movember had a direct impact on your family, friends or community? 
John: Through Movember I have had a few friends open up about their battles with mental illness. It’s been incredible to see. Movember also lead to a colleague at work talking about his battles with prostate cancer and the importance of regular visits to the GP. He hadn't spoken about his battles with cancer in all the years that I knew him and it was Movember that got him energised to do so.

Movember: What do you like most about participating in Movember?
John: What I like most about Movember, other than seeing some entertaining Mo's around the place, is the conversations that take place. You hear a lot of touching stories from fellow Mo Bro's and Sista's about what has motivated them – some very powerful stuff.

You’re not wrong, John. Even one conversation can make a big difference.