MEDFORD, Ore. -- Men who work at KDP Accounting in Medford are showing up to work this morning with scruff on their faces. They're embracing their hair this November, something many cancer patients lose during treatment. Local businesses are partnering with the Asante Foundation to raise money for cancer patients as part of No Shave November.
More than 2,000 people in the Southern Oregon area are diagnosed with cancer every year. Mark Damon, a managing partner at KDP Accounting and the founder of the local No Shave November movement, grows a beard each November in honor of these patients. But he helped found the campaign five years ago in honor of his mother. She passed away from cancer in 2012.
"It's just a way to step back or remember to think about those who have suffered or are currently suffering from cancer," said Damon. "It gives us a chance to fight back a little bit."
Outlier Construction is also raising money for cancer patients. People at the office and in the field are growing beards. The company's CEO, Robb Mayers, said this month creates a community of people who care.
"Maybe it has something to do with growing facial hair and sending each other funny pictures back and forth," said Mayers. "It's just become one of those things that brings people together. You have a good time with it."
Outlier Construction even has competitions for the best or creative beard. People who win the contests get bonuses.
These beard competitions are fund, but the ultimate goal is to raise awareness for cancer patients, according to Christian Gold Stagg, Asante Foundation Director of Development.
Cancer is an expensive disease to fight, doctors said. That's why Asante is working with local businesses to raise money for the Cancer Compassion Fund. Nurses and social workers at Asante are able to pinpoint patients in need so that they may use money for treatment. But the Asante Foundation said this fund goes one step further and gives patients financial resources to use when they're outside of the hospital, too.
"This is for supporting the whole patient," said Gold Stagg. "The Cancer Compassion Fund is there beyond things that insurance covers. Sometimes, that's medical supplies that aren't covered by insurance. Sometimes that's things like paying a month of rent because someone can't work because of their cancer treatment."
This is Asante Foundation's fifth year partnering with local businesses for No Shave November. They always end the month with a wrap party, full of smiles and scruff. Local businesses helped raise $80,000 for cancer patients last year. They're hoping to beat that goal this year.
You can sign up to raise money or donate funds for No Shave November here.