Local "Movember" campaign holds a dual purpose

Sean Connery. Hugh Jackman. Jon Hamm. Zach Galifianakis.While these and other male celebrities can pull off a bearded look most any time of the year, one local is bringing a challenge to area businessmen--just like him--to sport some facial hair for 30 days while promoting a cause and raising some money in the process.As a new and unique fundraiser for the local Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society, local State Farm agent Richard Fergeson hopes that a community-wide "Movember" campaign can bring some awareness to men's cancers.Some changes have been made to Relay for Life, as it will now be held sometime in October as a Saturday event. Leading up to the gathering, the leadership group plans to continually raise money on a quarterly basis.The "Movember" initiative began in Melbourne, Australia in 2004 and has become an international movement. On November 1st, a man will be completely clean-shaven, and for the entire month, he will grow a mustache. Wikipedia states that the goal of Movember is to "change the face of men's health", as their evolving facial hair prompts discussion on prostate and other male cancers.Since that time, others--whether involved in the initial concept or not--have changed and extended the idea to where a razor blade never meets a man's face for the entire eleventh month, making it a "no-shave November". Fergeson stated that Movember could be called the "man's response to the pink ribbon", as women promote breast cancer awareness the month before in October.For the community-wide program, Fergeson explained that men can get involved and everyone can make donations. As the donations come in, residents can learn about prostate cancer and other men's health issues while checking up on the status of the local beards and mustaches. He said that women, too, could take part in no-shave November if they would like, going razor-free for their legs and underarms.One of the reasons Fergeson wanted to do Movember was because he says that men are the worst when it comes to preventative care. With prostate cancer, if men catch the disease early, their chances at treatment are greater; thus, early and regular screenings can help in prevention.Fergeson's State Farm agency, located at 808 East Broadway in Sweetwater, will be a donation station, where donors can also pick up pamphlets outlining men's cancers.And by issuing this challenge to other businessmen in the community, Fergeson hopes that by men being proactive and with everyone donating to the American Cancer Society, awareness can be raised and conversations can take place.To learn more about Movember and to get involved, contact Ferguson at his office at 325-235-5412. For more information on the local Relay for Life, contact Cindy Hamlin, the organizing chairperson, at 325-725-7615.