Annie Deitz, Campus Carrier Staff Writer
For most, November brings about the stress before finals and the relaxation of Thanksgiving break. But for Colleges Against Cancer (CAC), Berry’s student organization extension of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, it’s No-Shave November, which means raising awareness and funds in support of men’s cancer research.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in three men in the United States will develop some sort of invasive cancer in their life, whether this be male-specific cancers like testicular cancer, or common cancers, like lung cancer or brain cancer. Although that number is almost exactly the same as the percentage of women who develop cancer throughout their lives, and far higher than the 1 percent of childhood cancers diagnosed every year, popular concern rarely lies in men’s cancer. CAC is working to change that through their No-Shave November initiative.
“A lot of times we focus on breast cancer, childhood cancer, leukemia and different things, so men’s cancer definitely gets brushed under the rug,” CAC President Jessie Cathcart said. “I’m glad to make it a part of our initiative here.”
Historically, No-Shave November has been used to raise awareness for different types of cancer, particularly men’s prostate cancer. However, an official No-Shave November competition and fundraiser began four years ago, during Cathcart’s freshman year.
“The first year was a little rough because Berry hadn’t really done one,” Cathcart said. “It was very educational, because people learned why people do it. But this year everyone knows what it is. When you say No-Shave November people know it’s for cancer awareness and research.”
The event lasts the entire month, and centers around two main competitions: one for the best beard and one for fundraising. For the best beard category, competitors sent in pictures of their cleanly shaven faces at the beginning of the month. On Nov. 30, they will send in another of their grown facial hair. CAC will open polls to the public, allowing students, faculty and staff to vote on the best beard. The champion will be given a free T-shirt. Currently, there are approximately 10 official entries. Usually the competition is split at about 50 percent students 50 percent staff. Last year’s winner was now junior London Elrod.
The second category focuses on fundraising, and both women and men are encouraged to participate. Students or faculty pledge not to shave for the entire month, and reach out to family, friends and neighbors for donations. These funds raise awareness and prevention through the American Cancer Society. In years past, the prize has been an Eno, but due to the preponderance of staff participants and victors, they recently decided to change to Visa Gift cards, which Cathcart said winners often end up donating back to the cause.
Overall, the event is a fun and easy way to work for a good cause, spreading awareness for the research and prevention of men’s cancer. There are no major rules, it simply requires not shaving for a month.
“It’s just a fun thing to do that takes little to no effort, maybe less effort than you would normally put in,” Cathcart said. “It’s one of my favorites.”