Franciscan Health knows that men aren’t always the best about going to the doctor and getting screenings. For this reason, they started their annual Movember event, featuring food, beer and free ticket giveaways from local sports teams.
“Men are resistant about going to the doctor, getting necessary screenings and being proactive about their health, so we’ve tried to find a way to remedy that,” says Franciscan Health Community Outreach Coordinator Joan Himebrook.
Since 2016, Franciscan Health’s Movember event has taken place at a different Indianapolis watering hole each year, allowing men to get free screenings while enjoying food and entering to win prizes. On November 23, the fourth annual Movember festivities will take place at Books & Brews on the campus of the University of Indianapolis (Shelby Street), conveniently located right next to the last stop on IndyGo’s Red Line bus. In keeping with tradition, the first 200 event attendees get a free growler, and the first 100 to complete three screenings get a gift card to fill said growler, either at the event or at a later date.
In addition to delicious beer and food, 107.5/93.5 The Fan and 93.1 WIBC will also be onsite at Movember, giving away Colts, Pacers, IU football and Butler basketball tickets. Like previous years, men will receive raffle tickets for every screening they complete, thus increasing their odds to win free game tickets with each health station visit. Once again, Franciscan Health will have a multitude of health experts on hand, conducting free screenings. Screening types include skin cancer, oral cancer, pulmonary, prostate assessment, heart, lung, bariatric, strength, agility and more.
With their first Movember event, Franciscan Health was not sure how well the Indy community would receive their idea. Much to their delight, they found that a need was being filled.
“We had no idea how many people would come,” says Himebrook of the first Movember held at Oaken Barrel Brewing Co. in Greenwood. “While we were setting up that morning, we probably had about 100 men waiting in line an hour before. We were like, ‘Whoa. This is big.’”
Over the years, several success stories have come out of the event, with men discovering ailments that could’ve worsened if it weren’t for their free Movember screening. After attending the first Movember at Oaken Barrel, Jerry Brown returned in 2017 with a slight concern.
“I had a little place under my left eye that I didn’t really think looked right, but I really didn’t think that much about it,” Brown says. “I went to the skin doctor that was there at Movember, and she said, ‘ I really think you should come in and have me look at this in the office.’”
Upon visiting Dr. Emily Keller from IndyDerm, on the south side of Indy, Brown discovered the skin issue was worse than he thought, and a serious medical situation was avoided thanks to Movember.
“I made an appointment and got into see her,” Brown says. “It could’ve been very serious, but she was able to treat it that day. So if I wouldn’t have gone to the Movember event, it might’ve developed into something pretty serious.”
In 2018, another man made his way to the event after hearing it mentioned on 1070 The Fan. Rather than continuing his drive on I-65, the man turned around and beelined it to Movember.
“He wasn’t there for food, beer or anything,” Himebrook says. “He just wanted to get a skin cancer screening. He said, ‘I’m uninsured at the moment, and this thing is not looking good.’ It wound up being melanoma, and that’s life-threatening.”
With Movember 2019 being held near a stop on the Red Line bus, Franciscan Health is hoping to impact even more Indianapolis men who may be uninsured or underinsured.
“They can hop right off the bus, enjoy some food, get their free screenings and maybe even win some prizes,” Himebrook says. “And then, they can hop back on the bus and head home.”
All in all, Franciscan Health’s goal is to improve the health of Indy men one life at a time.
“If there’s one person that comes through, and we prevent something tragic, then that person alone is one reason why we continue to do this,” Himebrook says.
Franciscan Health’s 2019 Movember event will take place at Books & Brews’ southside Shelby Street location on Saturday, November 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit Franciscan Health online at franciscanhealth.org/news-and-events for more information.