December 7, 2017

Everything About Decembeard - Grow a Beard & Help Beat Bowel Cancer

everything about decembeard

I LOVE the hairy months, Movember, Decembeard, Januhairy... It can go on and on.

The idea behind these months is actually pretty amazing. It's all about men's health. Movember is pretty general, but in December the focus is all on bowel cancer.

Every year in December, thousands are shedding light on the deadly disease by growing beards and raising funds as part of a month-long event known as Decembeard.

Bowel cancer is one of the most diagnosed cancers in both the US and the UK. Every half hour, somebody dies because of the disease. Decembeard wants to prove it doesn’t have to be that way.

What is Decembeard?

Decembeard is a fundraising event created by an organization called Beating Bowel Cancer. This UK organization is a support and campaigning charity for bowel cancer survivors, patients, and their loved ones and runs the only nurse-led specialist helpline for bowel cancer in the UK.

Beating Bowel Cancer dreamed up Decembeard to raise money and awareness of the disease. While generally considered a taboo topic and one that people don’t want to discuss, even with their doctors, if discovered early it has a 90% cure rate. Without early detection, however, it can lead to a terminal diagnosis, and family members will often suffer in silence because they don’t want to speak about it.

The tradition began in 2011 with a #Decembeard campaign on social media. It began shortly after BBC Radio presenter Chris Evans had the idea to grow his own beard out for bowel cancer in the month of December. Other charities and fundraisers quickly joined in, and the event has grown across the Atlantic to include the United States.

Participating in Decembeard

Decembeard participants help raise funds in several ways. Most will start with a fresh shave and then let their beards grow wild during the holiday month and find friends to sponsor them. Some even gather a team, along with a team captain, to make a bigger splash and collectively raise more funds.

December, as it turns out, is a great month for this kind of thing because of all the family and friends we meet. Lots of people will be asking questions about your life, so what better way to convince Aunt Mildred to stop asking when you’re going to get married than to start talking about bowel cancer and asking her to sign up to sponsor you?

There are other ways to get involved in Decembeard even if you don’t want to shave off your beard. If you already have a beard, you can die it, decorate it, or even glitterize it for a week or a month! You’ll make a big splash in person and when you share your photos on social media and bring tons of awareness--and probably tons of funds, too! You can also follow along with a beard dare, beard advent calendar, or host a beard-themed party.

bowel cancer

What is Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer is also known as colorectal, colon, or anal cancer. It typically is very slow-growing and can take up to ten years before it starts to spread (which is why early detection is so strongly correlated with a high cure rate). It’s important to note, however, that symptoms are often subtle. They include:

  • Persistent change in bowel habits (abdominal pain or looser stools associated with going more often)
  • Blood in your stool
  • Abdominal pain, discomfort, or bloating to the point that you’re reducing what you eat and losing weight

Once discovered, doctors will usually use some combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to treat.

Bowel cancer doesn’t have to be fatal, and the month-long fun of Decembeard is a great way to highlight that fact! Whether you’re growing a beard or just want to raise funds for a cause you believe in, there are lots of ways to get involved.

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