Facial hair fortitude finds a fight against cancer in November


EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – As November approaches its midpoint, you may have noticed more men with beards, mustaches or goatees. You may have spotted police officers, doctors, teachers or executives who are normally clean-shaven now suddenly sporting a scruffier look.

Eyewitness News has found that this trend, rooted in fundraising for cancer and men’s health awareness, has continued to gain momentum and popularity in recent years in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. No-Shave November and Movember are two of the most prominent nonprofit organizations devoted to attracting participants for a month-long campaign to either forgo shaving or to groom facial hair into a mustache in order to evoke conversation, raise health awareness and ultimately raise funds to support cancer prevention, research and education.

“I am going with the full beard this November, Pete chose to go with the Mo [mustache].” Ian Trombly of New Bedford explained.

Trombly and teammate Pete Lankering play together on a men’s hockey team in Fall River and both tell Eyewitness News they are growing facial hair this month for different causes and different personal reasons. Both, however, have already sparked much conversation about why they are doing it and why health awareness matters.

“If we can raise cancer awareness by something as simple and easy as growing a beard or pruning ourselves a silly mustache, why not do it?” Lankering asked.

Meanwhile in Rhode Island, the East Providence Police Department has already successfully reached their fundraising goal of $1,825 by participating in the No-Shave November cause. The department ran their fundraiser independently via their own GoFundMe page.

The male officers of the Newport Police Department have also announced participating in No-Shave November and commit to donating all funds to the No-Shave.org organization.

Warwick police are likewise pledging to give the money they would spend on shaving to help children with cancer through their effort ‘Cops fro Kids with Cancer.’ Their goal for the month is $3,000. According to the Warwick Beacon, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian – who has also been noticeably unshaven as of late – has said Warwick police have raised $5,000 this month already.

Over in North Kingstown, schoolteacher Eric Carlson responded to one of his student’s challenges to participate in the movement to help directly raise money to assist with another Toll Gate High School student’s mounting medical costs.

“I will continue to grow out my hair and beard for each day that money is raised. The goal is to raise an equivalent amount to the corresponding day,” Carlson promises on his personal fundraising page.

Carlson took it a step further to push his potential donors harder.

“Since all good fundraisers have stakes, a coworker then suggested if we raise $600, I should dye my hair white. To this, my students countered with a suggestion that at $700, I go purple and wear it for a week into December. Let’s Go Purple!”

REPORT IT!: Are you participating? Share your no-shave pics and causes with us!

Take a selfie, tell us about your no-shave cause and share your fundraising link with us. We will share it in a gallery on WPRI.com and may also use it on air.

While No-Shave November is often referred to interchangeably with ‘Movember,’ the two November hair-growth, web-based fundraising platforms are different. Movember, run by the Movember Foundation, encourages men to grow out mustaches for men’s health. Since 2003, the Movember Foundation says it has raised more than $650 million for causes including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health. No-Shave November in 2017 works to achieve their mission with the Prevent Cancer Foundation, Fight Colorectal Cancer, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.More Information:

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