The team at Affinity Cricket got behind the annual 'Movember' challenge to raise funds and awareness for the fight against testicular cancer.
Just a day before November and before Movember was due to kick off, we were asked if we were taking part. After three years in various teams I personally was not so sure. My wife less sure than I.
We had contact from one of the guys that follows us on Twitter asking if we were going to take part as a team or me personally. He'd been fighting Cancer and was six months clear...he thought us mucking in would be of benefit as the awareness wasn't as it should be in Trinidad.
I like to plan ahead, to think things through and to have to scrabble something together makes me feel a little uneasy!
I do think however the moment people "follow" you, you do have a responsibility as they will be sat watching what you say. Regardless of whether it be cricket equipment or delving into politics, marketing yourself or company needs to be done with a certain level of common sense as we know people can be swayed.
This was simple, as if you remove the element of Twitter you are being asked one man to another just to help in an issue as sensitive as testicular cancer.
It was now around 10:30pm and I had to neck a coffee and force some direction into our November campaign and get the wheels turning. Start at the logo…we have an “ac” with our placeholder under that holds us all together. (Designers ponytail moment!)
Replace that with a moustache and firstly change all the logos from Facebook and Twitter dedicating the efforts to november… game on.
We knew the next and the hardest part was to get people to participate and donate…
We incentivised being part of our #TeamAffinity Movember team by offering anyone who joins us and raises over £100 the chance to win a 2014 ToroT20 cricket bat. It brought in a couple but thankfully a few friends bulked out the team.
With charitable events around every corner you simply can't expect people to get the depth of the message and why it's so very important. The social networks are saturated and we are almost numb to emotive messaging, choosing to ignore rather than being brave enough to say no.
So pride has to go out of the window and you try your best to get peoples' attention… I think anyone that makes a fool of themselves or creates something to be laughed at is on the right lines once it's backed up with message.
We'd take photos everyday as the Mo developed, occasionally in costume or poses to get people waiting to see the next…then you can add more emotive messages in and ask for that first donation…in comes the first £10…then the next and each day the total rises.
A target of £500 for the team was seen as achievable with effort. We blitzed that in a week. Not only were the donations coming from all quarters but messages too.
A father whose son had asked him if he had his health check (now in his mid 40s) and went on to dress him down and explain the dangers and effect it would have on their lives…to know you are making progress is great and seeing the lads getting involved each day raises a smile.
To have essentially random people read and understand the message, knowing its importance and benefit is fuel. Also saying daft things like if you personally raise £1000 you'll dye your tash pink! Urgh...
We hit the 1st December having raised nearly six times the original amount we had in mind. Important information was broadcast to the cricket followers and friends alike and that information as I saw it being sent to a guy's phone or laptop in Trinidad in the hope he’d feel supported.
The people that donated were amazing, ladies chipping in as well - even Heather Knight!
As for the prize for participation. The guys like Matt Launchbury, Wayne McKay and Manley Dupreez all deserved it. They themselves were amazing not in just getting people to part with coins but each of them either educating, sharing or swallowing pride to help others.
Their response at the end of the project made the whole event special and glad I accepted to do it. They all wanted Neil, the Twitter follower and cancer survivor in Trinidad to have the bat. And when people can be so selfish at times only really doing something for an ulterior motive I wanted to share that.
So often, the negatives of people are rolled out in abundance as discussion points and the stories of the people being selfless are lost.
I just wanted him to know that he’d been responsible for something pretty decent.
"Neil Ramdass of Trinidad, I can safely say if it wasn't for you and your words we would not have taken part in #movember this year.
"You have been the realisation that at times you have to fight for others and that is what a TEAM is... sacrifice and inspiration."
To all those that contributed be proud of yourselves and those that took part we are proud of you.
It's not too late to give and its certainly not to late to let others know we have your back. That is what #TeamAffinity stands for! Cricket cares.
I think we stayed pretty true to our original piece written in our Movember team profile.
WE HAVE A CHANCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND WE ARE TAKING IT! WE CHOOSE TO GROW THE MOUSTACHE NO MATTER HOW POORLY IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER SO THAT WE CAN LET OUR FELLOW MAN KNOW... WE HAVE YOUR BACK! TOGETHER AS FEW OR AS MANY TEAMAFFINITY WILL TAKE ON THE NAYSAYERS THE ILL EDUCATED AND LET THEM KNOW THE DANGERS THAT FACE MEN OF ALL AGES... IT'S OUR JOB TO STAND TOGETHER AND USE THE POWER OF OUR MOUSTACHE FOR GOOD. STAND UP TEAMAFFINITY, GROW YOUR 'TASH AND HAVE NO PRIDE WHEN PLEADING FOR MONEY!”