Grow a beard, save a life, be a hero.

Graphic by Lauren McCarter

Cancer is something that affects everyone. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that every adult has been affected or has known someone who was affected by cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, “the overall estimate of 1,735,350 cases for 2018 equals more than 4,700 new cancer diagnoses each day. The lifetime probability of being diagnosed with cancer is 39.7 percent for men and 37.6 percent for women, which is a little more than 1 in 3.” It’s no wonder that so many great groups and organizations exist with the lone purpose: looking for a cure and helping both patients and families. These groups perform tasks like paying for treatments, financing the experimenting of possible cures, driving patients to chemo-therapy, helping the afflicted with household chores, and making hospital stays more bearable for patients and their families.

If you’re wondering how an average person (maybe a broke college student) can make a difference in this fight, you aren’t the first. No-Shave November was originally founded on Facebook in 2009. After gaining a massive following (including my military unit in 2010), they teamed up with the American Cancer Society to make sure cancer is being fought on every front.

Established in 1913, the American Cancer Society does a little bit of everything for those dealing with cancer, including raising funds and collecting donations to fund things from cancer research to helping affected families.

The intent of No- Shave November, or “Grow Nation” as it’s called by some, is to raise awareness by embracing one’s hair (which cancer patients lose) and letting it grow for the entire month of November— then, to donate the money you would typically spend on shaving accessories to help the cause.

While it may feel like a small drop in a large pool, if enough people donate, we can make a difference and help those in dire need of assistance and maybe one day, death from cancer will be a thing of the past as it has with other diseases throughout history.

This year, Maryville College is participating in “No-Shave November” and according to the official rules, all you have to do to is “put down your razor for 30 days and donate your monthly hair-maintenance expenses to the cause. Strict dress-code at work? Don’t worry about it! We encourage participation of any kind; grooming and trimming are perfectly acceptable.”

I encourage everyone, both faculty and students, to put down your razor for the month of November and donate to the American Cancer Society at or you can use the link sent out in the “MC Today” emails (Enter “MC SCOTS” for the team when prompted).

I spoke with Coby Tucker, a military veteran and freshman at MC, about his views on this fun and light-hearted way to raise awareness for something as serious as cancer.

Tucker said, “I think people should participate in No-Shave November to help raise awareness. Everyone should advocate for cancer awareness anyway they can. It just so happens that in November, men have a chance to advocate a little harder for the cause. I am participating this year as I have every year I have been able to grow facial hair. In the Navy, all we could do was a mustache and even though it looked horrible on me, I still grew it to raise awareness.”

Cancer doesn’t fight fair and neither should we. It will take us all to combat cancer in the long run and because it affects everyone, it’s our duty. So, in an effort to motivate you, here is a list of bearded men (some real, some fiction) who have changed the course of history: Abraham Lincoln, Grizzly Adams, Leonardo da Vinci, Sophocles, Santa, Hagrid, Gandalf, William Shakespeare, King Leonidas, Thor, and Allan from “The Hangover” series.

Now, go forth and as we enter the holiday season— let it grow.

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