More than just a trend: No Shave November spreads awareness about cancer and radiation treatment

No Shave November is a month long journey where all participants, male and female, set aside the razors and grooming shears to stir up conversation about cancer awareness and radiation treatment.

Inspired from a 2009 Facebook campaign by the sons and daughters of a father suffering from colon cancer, money saved from shaving cream and razors is donated to the American Cancer Society.

Through body hair, which cancer patients commonly lose during radiation treatment, awareness is opened up to differing perspectives of support.

Companies are taking the challenge, too. Edible Arrangements will be donating one dollar from every mustache-shaped pineapple pop brought to the American Cancer Society. Even the little signs of awareness bring light to fighting cancer.


Senior Laine Scifres discuss the chemotherapy process her mother Kristin Scifres went through. Being a woman with well kept hair made the difficulty of losing it much of an obstacle for Scifres. An important memory Scifres recalls is when her mother was preparing herself for a fancier church dinner. With radiation treatment, hair, eyebrows and eyelashes fall out.

“She wanted to look nice, and so she wore a wig and drew on eyebrows and put on fake lashes,” Scifres states.


“It was so hard for her because she felt part of her femininity was gone.”


As the treatment continued, Scifres learned to be more comfortable and accepting of the hair loss. Being an art teacher at Rosa Parks Elementary School, Scifres has a creative and artistic passion.

“She took the hair loss as an opportunity to express herself with scarves and hats instead of hiding her features,” Scifres adds.


Participants’ hair doesn’t have to drape down a tower like Rapunzel’s from the classic fairy tale, although it’s encouraging to see how long one’s locks can get.

The rules are simple: Set aside all hair-cutting tools for each day in November. After the 30-day challenge, donate the hair that had time to grow to local hair salons that accommodate the bundles.

More than anything else, the encouraged event is brought to aid others. If growing body hair isn’t acceptable or possible due to societal or religious restrictions, people can participate by donating money and encouraging friends and families to participate in fundraising for cancer research and care.

Organizations such as Wigs 4 Kids, Locks of Love, Pantene Beautiful Lengths Campaign, and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital all accept hair donations.