Why I support Movember, Julián's story

“Every year I have the opportunity to pause and do something different. I have seen people opening up to discuss their journey, changing their ways of living, connecting more, or reaching out to share how my experience has helped them.”

Julián Arias, Manager Business Performance in Brisbane Australia, is an avid supporter of the Movember Campaign and men’s health, with this year being his seventh year supporting the cause with BHP.

Moving from his hometown in Colombia, Julián learned of Movember after he moved to Australia in 2009 and was immediately drawn to the initiative. Since 2011, Julián has taken part in Movember efforts with teams across Nickel West, WA Iron Ore, Minerals Americas, and most recently, with our Technical Office - growing a moustache, organising morning tea’s, 1:1 conversations with peers, and setting himself goals throughout the duration of the month with running and cycling.

This year, Julián will be supporting Movember in memory of his father Rodrigo whom he lost to colon cancer earlier this year.

Julián shares more about his ‘why’ for Movember in his own words below.

Can you tell us about your motivation for supporting Movember and what it means to you? 

Over the years I have seen that men’s health is a topic that is not present on many fronts – at schools, universities, at work, or in the media. Often, we just go about life without stopping and reflecting on the importance of talking about these issues, and for some, it can be too late.

I’m Colombian and grew up in a society that was going through a lot during the 90’s, and for many, the only focus was about thriving and making the most out of our opportunities, without much reflection on our health and wellbeing. Movember has given me the opportunity to explore deeper on my journey with career, family, friends, and my health, and I wanted to get involved to build awareness and make positive changes with those around me.

Can you tell us about your experience of losing a loved one to cancer?  

My father Rodrigo raised six children and was always busy looking after his family and putting his family first. We lost him in June this year after a long battle with colon cancer. It was a battle for him, and our whole family. Navigating through the ups and downs was the most challenging aspect. For me, living on the other side of the world took a big toll, with international travel restrictions making it logistically impossible to fly back and attend his farewell.

What has helped you the most during this journey of loss and grief?  

For me, it is always about understanding in good detail what you are going through and putting in place actions. Sharing with those around me and with the support of experts has been pivotal. As I went through this process, I became more interested in understanding and using the resources and people available to me and acting upon the things I did have control of. As a result, I had many conversations, exercised more (I ran my first full marathon during this time), focused my attention in supporting others, started doing things that I hadn’t done before, and I took some time off as well. It’s important to look after yourself, connect, and be mindful of keeping your energy balanced during these tough times.

Why have you chosen to share your story today? 

A workplace is about people and each person faces different challenges. Building awareness is key and it will always make a difference to someone. Always!  

Any final thoughts?

I’d like to ask everyone: Have you done your annual health check-up? Have you acted upon the results? Don’t wait, take action today and book the time in your calendar– it may just save your life!