No-Shave-November: It’s more than just hair

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Karin Fowler

No Shave November can also be referred to as “Movember”, describing how men grow their hair in awareness for men’s health.

Karin Fowler, Sports Editor

October is known as breast cancer awareness month. As November continues, it’s time to put away the pink, and along with that, shaving razors. 

No-Shave-November is a trend that is often seen as a fun way for men to see what facial hair they can grow. However, its creation is actually to raise awareness for mens’ health, specifically those battling cancer. 

The No-Shave-November foundation was started by the Hill family. In 2007, Matt Hill was diagnosed with colon cancer. After a yearlong battle, he unfortunately lost his fight and passed away. His family wanted to raise awareness to the people, primarily men, around the world who were fighting as Matt once did.

The foundation’s purpose is to encourage people to put down their razors and grow out their hair for a month. The concept started with the idea that those who undergo chemotherapy often lose their hair within the process. By participating in the challenge, it brings pride to one’s hair and makes them stop and appreciate it, thinking about those who aren’t as fortunate. Through donating to pledges, t-shirts, bracelets and other merchandise, money that would otherwise go towards shaving cream and razors goes to different charities and cancer organizations. 

But what does the challenge look like this year?

Since its start, No-Shave-November has raised over twelve million dollars for its cause. This year sees thirteen different organizations working alongside the cause. The fundraiser shows a leaderboard of those who are growing out their beards and mustaches, and have raised the most money. As of Nov. 11th, $267,581 have been raised. 

Senior Chloe Cline sees the importance of the challenge because of what it means for families like hers,because Cline’s father is a cancer survivor. “It’s important to show those who are battling cancer that there is a community who is there for them and supports them,” Cline said. 

I sympathize with the Hill family and their efforts because like Cline, my father is currently battling stage four colon cancer. 

I never thought my dad was in amazing shape. Sure, our family medical history can provoke a long explanation, but I never saw my dad as being unhealthy, let alone sick. To me, my dad had always been the guy who I would tackle on his bed, which would prompt him to say, “We’ve got ourselves a linebacker!” He was the guy who would suggest we put bricks on my head to keep me from growing up.

Those memories start to get pushed aside, giving way to the memories and thoughts from hospital. The smell of sterile blankets and bad hospital food is forever engraved in my brain. It’s hard to write let alone think of my life before my dad’s diagnosis because it’s shaped so much of who I am. This whole journey has changed the way I’ve perceived a lot of things. Little things that never previously crossed my mind were all of a sudden major obstacles.

Dinner. Such a simple concept has become a battle in my house. My father is the cook, the one who looks up recipes and tries new things. However due to biweekly chemotherapy, he’s left in a weakened state and any off smell or taste triggers his nausea. Coolers left on our porch and pre-made meals from friends and families became lifesavers. 

Without that support, it would just be another challenge added to the already overflowing list. Even the smallest, seemingly insignificant tasks make the biggest difference. That is why I am thankful for No-Shave-November.

After my older brother Jackson, a 2018 PVHS graduate, he took on the challenge of No-Shave-November and took it. For over two years he grew out his hair and when it eventually came time to cut it off, he donated 11 inches to cancer awareness charity for wigs to be made. 

Although hair loss was not a side effect our father experienced throughout his treatments, but the fact that some are not as fortunate was not lost on Jackson. “I think charity is important,” Jackson said, “To say and think that you support a cause and then do nothing would be hypocritical.” An effort that had no physical effect on my family, made a huge emotional one. 

As No-Shave-November comes to a close its important to remember all of those who were effected by the cause, and the impression one person’s action can have have on them.