As Movember has come and passed, you may be looking for another reason to keep growing your beard. December marks the beginning of an annual month-long fundraiser, in which people from all over the world raise awareness for bowel cancer. So if your friends are family are begging you to shave — tell them that you can’t ditch the manly beard just yet!
What is Decembeard?
Similar to Movember, Decembeard encourages men to grow out their majestic facial hair, this time throughout December.
Some men who took part in the prior movement prefer to keep growing their existing beard. However, most men start with a fresh, clean shave. Letting your facial hair grow wild during Decembeard helps bring recognition towards bowel cancer, as well as raise money for treatment research.
On a much lighter note, let’s not forget that winter is coming. Your beard will not only promote a great cause, but it will also keep you warm during chilly winter nights.
Understanding Bowel Cancer
Bowel cancer, otherwise known as colorectal cancer, begins in the large bowel (colon) or rectum. The colon’s function involves absorbing water, while the rectum and anal canal (the last 15 centimeters of the large bowel) stores waste material until they leave the body through the anus.
Symptoms of bowel cancer you should watch out for include:
- Rectal bleeding, including blood in the stool
- A recurring case of diarrhea or constipation
- An unusual and sudden change in the size or shape of your stool
- A persistent urge to have a bowel movement
- Abdominal pain or cramps in your lower abdomen
- Loss of appetite leading to weight loss
- Constant bloating or feeling full despite changes in appetite
- Constant exhaustion (fatigue)
According to research from the American Cancer Society, a little over 140,000 people in the country are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year. Excluding skin cancers, malignancy in the bowel is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Further, although the death rate of this disease has been declining in both men and women, it was still expected to cause about 50,630 deaths in 2018.
By raising awareness and knowing the symptoms, you can do your part in saving lives.
How to Get Involved — With or Without a Beard
If it’s impossible for you to grow a beard, whether due to genetic reasons or a loved one protesting not to, there are several other ways to get involved.
Below, New Hope Unlimited shares a few tips from Decembeard Australia, including some of our own. The goal is to diversify the group of people who can take part in this noble cause, including women.
Share your “Me, My Beard, and Why” Story
Sharing your personal stories can have a positive impact. Many patients with bowel cancer find solace and unexpected benefits from sharing or hearing other people’s stories. Although it is understandable why some people may hesitate to reveal such a vulnerable part of their life, those who have gathered the courage to speak up and reach out to others with a similar condition gave themselves the opportunity to improve their overall well-being.
Whether you are living with bowel cancer, have survived bowel cancer or are supporting someone who is, other people do want to hear from you. Click here to learn how you can share your cancer stories with the world.
Spread the word through modern and traditional mediums
Social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, are the most convenient platforms for voicing your opinions and advocacies. Spread your beardy message or share your majestic beard selfies with family and friends. Other ideas include chatting with your fellow alumni or colleague, starting a Facebook group, or sending weekly email newsletters about Decembeard. The point is to encourage as many people as possible to hop on the beardwagon!
If you are a beautiful old soul, you have other options for sharing your fundraising efforts. This includes arranging face-to-face meetings or initiating over-the-phone conversations. You may even contact your local newspaper to see if they will feature your story and fundraising efforts in the next edition.
Let your creativity fly
If you are a graphic designer or work in a creative industry why not make a poster about your fundraiser and distribute them around your community? Just be sure to secure the appropriate non-profit organization, company, and council approvals first. Several poster templates are also available for download from many image creation sites, such as Canva.
Host a “Shave the Date” party
Similar to Movember, holding a “Shave the date” event is always a hit. Save the date sometime along the end of December and/or the beginning of January. It is the perfect time to kick-off or end your fundraising efforts, particularly since a grand party will provide you the opportunity to ask loved ones for direct monetary donations.
Too busy for all of the above? Drop a personal donation
If you are looking for a direct and straightforward way to raise awareness for bowel cancer, a personal donation to Decembeard Australia is an excellent way to make waves. You can likewise ask friends, family, and co-workers to take part by giving as little or as much as they can. After all, every penny counts.
As a few final words, make sure to express your sincerest gratitude towards all your donors and sponsors. Last, do not forget to thank yourself for making such a tremendous effort in improving the fate of bowel cancer research.
With the lifetime risk of colorectal cancer development about 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women, it is highly recommended to make routine visits to your doctor. Early and accurate diagnosis, followed by comprehensive care, are crucial factors in improving your colorectal cancer prognosis and life expectancy.
For bowel cancer treatments that consider your physical, emotional, and overall wellness, contact New Hope Unlimited. You can get in touch with our support team by dialing 480-666-1403 or by completing our online form.