'Behind the beard' -- No Shave November proceeds help defray medical expenses of city employee.
The goal of No-Shave November is simple: Bring awareness to cancer by growing beards, which many cancer patients lose, and donating the funds typically spent on shaving to local cancer prevention organizations or members of the community fighting cancer.
An undisclosed sum was raised this November by the Dickinson Police Department as they set grooming policy aside to help offset medical expenses for a Dickinson city employee currently battling cancer. In addition to the No-Shave November program, officers hosted a luncheon with proceeds going to the employee.
"This year was the most successful No-Shave November we've had since we implemented the program," Sgt. Corey Lee, Dickinson Police Department, said. "The purpose was twofold. We certainly wanted to raise funds to help in the local community, but we also wanted to raise awareness of the battle many in our community face after a cancer diagnosis."
With the end of the month-long venture finally at hand, many within the department said that they will miss their facial hair, while others were pleased to see their chins for the first time in 30 days. In the end, all were pleased to participate and contribute toward a good cause.
Speaking about the program, Chief of Police Dustin Dassinger said the cause was reason enough to get "behind the beard."
"It's very important to get involved with issues like this in the community, and the police department really consider ourselves a large family. Anytime we can do any event that can help one of our own, we'll certainly go through with that," Dassinger said. "The timing of No-Shave November this year correlated perfectly with the timing to aid one of our own. All the participants enjoyed doing it, and sometimes programs like this add a spunk of morale to the department. For the month of November we suspended a portion of our departmental policy, dealing with grooming, for a good cause. I'm proud of that."
In a Facebook post Monday, the department asked the community to vote on which shift wore their facial hair best. "Vote by liking the picture each crew submitted" the post read.
When asked who grew the best beard, Lee responded in jest:
"I did. You have to support yourself," he said. "Seriously though, there were a few nice beards in the department, while some of the other guys were a little embarrassing."
Detailing the history behind Dickinson Police Department's No-Shave November program, Lee outlined his own personal story of how cancer has affected his family and how those experiences were the catalyst for his pushing for department-wide participation.
"No-Shave November has been around for a while, but this is something that I instituted here a few years ago and it means a great deal to me personally," he said. "My family has dealt with cancer on many different levels and for many years. Both of my parents have been afflicted with it as well as other members of my family, so it's kind of a big deal for me."
Lee said that when he first heard about the No Shave November movement, he didn't know how DPD's administration would react to a request to participate.
"A few years back I went to the chief and asked if this was something that we would be able to do," he said. "In doing No-Shave November, I was hoping that we could pick someone locally that we could put these funds towards. I was quite surprised that they let us set the policy aside for a little bit and allowed us to do this. Last year we gave the funds to the oncology department at Sanford Health, who used it for a good cause."
No-Shave November has been encouraging people to donate what they would otherwise spend on hair grooming to the American Cancer Society since 2009 when the movement started on Facebook.
Lee expressed his appreciation with the community involvement the program garnered.
"We wanted to do something nice for the community. It's important that law enforcement and the community do things together," he said. "We have other programs like Shop-with-A-Cop and stuff like that, but we wanted to do something that shows that we care and that our minds and hearts are with those in the community suffering from cancer. We really wanted to incorporate the community with this event, and our Facebook response and daily encounters really demonstrated that the community supported the event and our department."
No-Shave November asks participants to forgo shaving beginning on Nov. 1 and running through Dec. 1. Volunteers can grow beards or grow out their hair, and the program even encourages women to skip shaving their legs. The funds generally spent on razors then are donated to a good cause or to a local member of the community.
For more information about No-Shave November, visit no-shave.org.