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Hal Stern
Hal and David before the MoImage by: Hal Stern
Hal Stern
Hal Stern
February 17, 2021

Hal Stern: Make Our Own Luck

3 minutes read time

I’ve been a Mo Bro for a lucky seven years, and each year I start thinking about my campaign a few months in advance. What started as a six degrees of Kevin Bacon path to friends of friends, co-workers and public figures has gotten progressively closer and more personal every year. Comparing notes on the best bathrooms in Newark Airport with a friend who had prostate cancer surgery. Taking a selfie with the Frank Zappa mural in Philadelphia only to remember he died of prostate cancer before he turned 53. Hearing that a former co-worker took their own life. When I thank people for their contributions to my campaign, I hear stories of love and concern about spouses, parents, siblings - those who have been lucky to detect and treat their prostate cancer. The stories get progressively closer, more personal, and less happy each year.

In response, I pick a harder challenge - walking 60 miles (2018), choosing to run through New York City’s Union Square in my underwear (2019), or biking 60 miles this year. The last time I rode a bike - even in a gym - more than a few miles, Jimmy Carter was President and nobody had heard disco yet. One of my friends, a cancer survivor, said “this never goes away” - and planning a month of physical activity gives me the safest, tiniest taste of that level of personal impact.

" Faced with prostate cancer, David again made his own luck in treatment, attitude, and a refusal to accept limits. "

What brought the 2020 Movember campaign into razor sharp focus was hearing that my cousin David was being treated for prostate cancer this summer. David is, and always has been, the cousin who created luck out of nothing. He introduced me to computers, he bought me my first college tee shirt from MIT, and he could learn a song on guitar effortlessly. If he needed an extension on a project, it happened; when he needed a unique piece of lab equipment for his PhD thesis, he managed to find one in Germany and flew it back to New Jersey like a companion animal. He challenged convention, kept me laughing, never took himself or any authority too seriously, and inspired me — and encouraged me — to be nerdy and musical and curious. He did all that while rocking an incredible Mo to go with his incredible attitude.

Faced with prostate cancer, David again made his own luck in treatment, attitude, and a refusal to accept limits. A few weeks after surgery, he was hiking in the Pacific Northwest. This is the spirit of Movember — we make our own luck, challenge ourselves to do and be better, and look out for men of all ages, shapes and facial hair configurations.

Hal was featured as our Mo of the Month for February 2021. Mo of the Month highlights some of our epic Movember supporters and stories of why they Mo. If you want to share your Movember story, send us a note to info.us@movember.com and tell us why you Mo.