‘Preserve those special small moments’: Movember men’s health awareness month organiser on his app to capture family memories – and key health information

Nicholas Worley hasn’t shaved for a while. The Hong Kong resident is preparing his moustache for Movember, the annual event that shines a light on men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

Cultivating a ’tash is a way to support Movember, a global movement which this year marks its 20th anniversary. Much has happened since its seeds were sown by mates downing beers at a pub in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003.

It has helped fund more than 1,300 men’s health projects globally and was the catalyst for the world’s largest prostate cancer registry network, which now has more than 200,000 men from 23 countries enrolled.

It’s also been a driving force behind the channelling of almost US$350 million into more than 600 biomedical research projects for prostate and testicular cancer.

Worley at a Movember event in Hong Kong in 2012. Photo: courtesy of Nicholas Worley

Since incorporating mental health issues such as suicide in 2006, the movement has united experts, funded bold new approaches and embraced fresh perspectives all built around “getting men talking”.

“Mo bros”, as they are called, and their sisters, are encouraged to take action and get men talking about men’s health. It’s much needed.

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Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men aged 15 to 39, while more than 1.4 million men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020, a number expected to increase to 2.3 million globally by 2040.

In Hong Kong, more than 30 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every month. It is the third-most common cancer in men.

Worley has been supporting the Movember movement since 2010. “I organised some of the first gala parties in Hong Kong,” says the 41-year-old.
Worley with his grandfather in 1987 when Nicholas was five years old. Photo: courtesy of Nicholas Worley

The cause is close to his heart.

Worley was 16 years old when his “sprightly and kind” grandfather, Cecil Norman Worley, died of prostate cancer, aged 89.

“Like many of that generation, he never went to the doctor to get it checked out, let alone talk about it … He just lived and struggled with it,” says Worley of his grandfather, who was a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force and was based in Hong Kong in 1945 and 1946.

Talking about vulnerability and mental health is something I want to be able to talk to my kids about

Nicholas Worley

“Users create a profile with information about themselves and then add library albums with things like photos, videos, audio files and documents,” he says. There is a function allowing users to send time-delayed messages so loved ones receive them at a future date.

But it also goes deeper, storing details that you wanted to but never got around to asking family members, such as their favourite holiday, greatest moment of hardship or maybe even their biggest regret.

A photo of Worley’s grandfather, Cecil Norman Worley, taken in 1945. Photo: courtesy of Nicholas Worley

Privacy and security are paramount, adds Worley. Being free of advertisements also makes it more appealing than social media platforms.

“There’s a study which shows that in the next 50 years, there will be more dead people on Facebook than alive and all that data is owned by them … that upset me.”

Worley was born in Hong Kong to a British father and Colombian mother, who now live in South Africa. His wife is Australian.

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Having relatives spread far and wide is the perfect template for a platform that, at its heart, is about connecting family members so they don’t miss out on special moments.

For Worley, Inalife is literally a dream come true.

“When my grandfather died I had a surreal dream where I walked into a crowded room and saw my father and my grandfather, not as older men but as 16-year-olds,” he says.

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“I saw all these familiar faces but knew nothing about them apart from some details from old photos,” he says.

He wondered what his grandfather and great-grandfather were really like.

He felt sad not knowing this information, and had kicked around the idea for Inalife since 1999. He finally acted on it in 2019 after his first child was born.

He admits he’s slightly obsessed with capturing special family moments.

Nicholas Worley founded Inalife to help families preserve memories. Photo: Handout

“It’s not just life’s main events that Inalife can preserve, but those small precious moments.”

Worley pulls out his phone to show not just how user-friendly the Inalife app is, but some of the content on his profile.

There are videos of his children playing and singing, and reactions captured after the sharing of news a partner is pregnant.

Pulling the heartstrings the hardest, however, are videos taken last year of his children making cupcakes with their grandmother – his mother-in-law – who died recently of pancreatic cancer. One particularly poignant clip shows her tying one of her grandson’s shoelaces.

Inalife is more than a treasure trove of curated memories, though: it has the potential to save lives.

This month an option was added allowing users to share valuable health information.

Nicholas Worley, with sons Kai Davies Worley (feft) and Kaleb Davies Worley, look through old family pictures. Photo: Edmond So

“A visit to the doctor is often met with the question, ‘Is there a history of this disease or condition in your family?’”

Most of the time, people don’t know, he says.

“Often there’s institutional knowledge about family health history; you know, comments you’ve heard at family gatherings such as ‘oh yes, your grandad had this disease’ or ‘your auntie suffered from this’.”

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But the health picture, he says, is often blurry and frustratingly lacking in detail. Inalife aims to make it clear.

Take Worley’s family as an example: there is a history of prostate cancer, diabetes and sleep apnoea, a condition when breathing stops and restarts many times during sleep.

All three are genetically linked and he is determined to make sure his sons and their descendants have access to valuable information to help safeguard their health.

Worley at a CrossFit charity event he organised in 2016 to support Movember. Photo: courtesy of Nicholas Worley

Since you share genes with family members, why not share helpful health data so you literally have it at your fingertips as a valuable diagnostic tool?

Worley hopes the app will also inspire people to discuss health issues and not suffer in silence like his grandfather did.

“That’s why I love Movember because just talking about vulnerability and mental health is something I want to be able to talk to my kids about.”

For more details about Movember in Hong Kong, visit https://ex.movember.com/

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