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Charlotte Connell says about her dad “He was my best friend, mentor and surfing buddy”

Get Motivated is a series presented in partnership with the Movember Foundation.

Devastated by the loss of her father to prostate cancer, Charlotte Connell is passionate about improving men’s health for the sake of her son and to prevent men dying too early from cancer and mental illness.

The week her father died Charlotte Connell found out she was pregnant with her first child. After a lengthy battle with prostate cancer her beloved Dad Geoff succumbed to illness he had been diagnosed with in 2007.

“I miss him every day,” Charlotte said. “He wasn’t just my Dad, he was my best friend, mentor and surfing buddy.”

Growing up by the beach her father was a patient and fit man who taught her to surf. And he always told her that she would make a great mum one day.

Sadly he never had the chance to meet his grandson Finn Geoffrey, now 15 months old, but his memory lives on and his positive attitude towards his health is something his daughter wants her son, and other men to benefit from.

“As soon as Dad found out (he was ill) he started talking about it, and it was a good thing he did – he inspired friends and family to get tested and a close family friend caught his prostate cancer early,” she said.

He also inspired Charlotte to raise awareness of both mental and physical health issues in men.

She has been raising money for Movember for the past five years and has managed to rope in friends along the way. But now she has a son she wants Finn to be part of her campaign.

“I have got to do something with my son because he is the future and he’s why I am doing it,” she said. “(When he’s older) I want Finn to ask me why I did all these things so I can explain it to him.”

Not being able to grow a moustache herself has not stopped Charlotte from inventing creative and effective ways to raise funds for Movember.

“Dad had this magnificent moustache – he was like a surfer god. When he got sick I thought ‘Oh no! Dad’s going to lose his moustache’ from the chemo so I wanted to do something positive. I thought if I can wear a moustache and suffer the ridicule (of walking around with a fake mo) then men can go and get a health check!”

She’s as passionate about mental illness as she is about physical health. “I think Finn is growing up in a brilliant time when men talk about mental health issues, there is less stigma attached and there is the realisation that it’s totally OK not to be OK.”

And while older generations of men may have ignored their health concerns, male friends have thanked her for encouraging them to seek regular check-ups.

“I want to get the next generation of men on board with this message,” she said.

Charlotte will again be raising funds for Movember this year – along with son Finn.

Get Motivated. Support Movember and help stop men dying young. Sign up at movember.com and Grow a Mo or Move to be the difference in a man’s life.

Henry Sapiecha