No-Shave November: Foregoing the razor to raise cancer awareness

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Jun Suh Park

Matt participating in the No-Shave November to promote cancer awareness throughout the campus.

By Isabella Lilley

The Presby Hall employee serves as the residence hall’s weekend clerk. At that time, he sits at the front desk, greeting visitors and supervising the front entrance.

Royse, however, didn’t avoid the facial grooming without a reason. Royse’s grandfather passed away from lung cancer years ago; thus, he was inspired to participate in the month-long campaign that raises cancer awareness: No-Shave November.

“People ask,” Royse said. “(My grandfather’s) death definitely made an impact on me, and I want to show my appreciation.”

Plunging into crispier weather and heftier workloads, the month of November is often accompanied by a lower standard of appearance. However, the trend of prickly cheeks and scruffy upper lips in this winter month can often be attributed to this cause.

Although men like Royse have been participating in the tradition for years, the non-profit “No-Shave November” organization wasn’t officially established until 2009. The Hill family of Chicago founded the web-based foundation as a means of honoring the patriarch of the family, Matthew Hill, who passed away from colon cancer in November 2007.lb

The mission of the organization, according to its website, is the devotion of “growing cancer awareness and raising funds to support cancer prevention, research and education” by encouraging participants to forego the razor for a month.lb

The benefitting charities include the American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, The Fight Colorectal Cancer Coalition and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. To date, $2 million total has been raised to benefit these organizations.lb

For Aubrey Laskowskilb, freshman in LAS and Engineering, his participation in the month-long campaign is intended to support his mother, who suffered from Chondrosarcoma attacks on her muscle and bone.lb

“I participate in No-Shave November to celebrate my mom’s life and what she’s gone through,” Laskowski said. “She lost her leg from it many years ago, and I have decided that it would be a good way to raise awareness because not a lot of people do know that (No-Shave November) is (meant) to raise awareness for cancer.”

American Eagle Outfitters has joined the operation with the aspiration “to support cancer research and prevention,” making a small line of t-shirt and underwear apparel to benefit the not-for-profit.lb

Even 73-year-old Muhammad Ali, world-renowned boxer and social activist, has taken on the No-Shave November challenge, as reported by Today.lb

But for Mitch Borrowdale, junior in ACES, the prickly cheeks were just for fun.lb Borrowdale, who is a three-year veteran of the tradition, began growing out his facial hair in mid-October to adequately prepare for his role as Thor for Halloween.

“I like the theme of it. I like that people do it. It’s just the time and the season,” Borrowdale said. “Also, I did it this year because, when I get out of college, I’m not going to be able to grow out a beard as often. I figure, what the heck. Just do it.”

Although Royse prefers to keep his facial hair a little more presentable for the remainder of the year, he believes that his ability to grow hair, something often denied of cancer patients, is something he should capitalize on in honor of the campaign.

“If I have the freedom to shave, why not?” Royse says. “I find it (to be) respectful. (No-Shave November) is for cancer awareness. I’m not doing it for no reason.”

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