WAXAHACHIE

Through the generosity of many, the Waxahachie Police Department raised $11,165.52 for the Testicular Cancer Foundation by sporting beards, goatees, and selling T-shirts.

These funds will be used by the foundation to educate people about testicular cancer, promote awareness, and aid those who are battling the disease.

“I can’t thank the public enough for all that they do in the program,” Waxahachie Police officer James Taylor said. “It showed me that the public not only supports us in what we do as a department but also they support the efforts to raise the money for testicular cancer.”

The program used by the foundation and police department is called the Beard Patrol. Throughout the month of November, officers grow mustaches, goatees, or beards for 30 days to support the foundation. If a person can’t grow facial hair, they can sponsor someone who can or donate in honor of someone currently fighting cancer. Waxahachie officers sported goatees for a $25 donation and beards for a $50 donation from Oct. 8 – Dec. 31.

Through t-shirt sales, officer contributions and a donation from the police association, the department was able to raise $5,582.72. An anonymous donor from Austin matched the amount. The total made the Waxahachie Police Department the highest collector of donations in Texas.

Taylor noted that even though they changed the style of the shirt a bit by offering two different colors, everyone still banded together and showed their support for the cause.

Taylor shared that the response from people who came out to purchase a shirt was always a very positive one.

“The reaction that we got was, ‘we always see the fire department raising awareness for women’s cancer. It is really nice to see you guys come together to help raise awareness and money for men’s cancer,’” Taylor shared. “This is one of the many different men’s cancers. It is just one close to me because it is one that I went through. [...] The public and the police department have all been supportive of this program.”

According to the Mayo Clinic website, testicular cancer affects teens and younger men, particularly those between the ages of 15 and 35 but it can occur at any age. The National Cancer Institute states in 2014 an estimated 251,194 men were living with testicular cancer in the country. New cases in 2017 are estimated at 8,850, which was 0.5 percent increase overall new cancer cases.

Connor O’Leary, who is the Testicular Cancer Foundation Chief Mission Officer, stated the work from groups like the Waxahachie Police Department help to aid men all over the country.

“It is huge for us to have departments like Waxahachie on board. The Beard Patrol has been one of our flagship fundraisers and to see JT and the whole Waxahachie police department run with it is great,” O’Leary said. “The funds raised are really important but the awareness and education that they are providing to the community and the people that they come in contact are tremendous. Beards are a great conversation starter and that it is for cancer adds a ton of value. It really does help us get the word.”

O’Leary added that talking about Testicular Cancer is difficult for guys and this program helps to bridge the gap to get that important conversation started. By having these discussions early on, it helps more men seek treatment and promote better long-term health.

He noted that every single dollar raised goes toward the foundation’s mission of education, promoting awareness, and supporting people who are battling the disease. None of the funds go toward overhead, salaries, or mailings.

Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby stated that this year’s fundraising has been a tremendous success and connected officers with the public.

“It is a fun event for us, and it is a great cause. The guys every year look forward to growing out their beards. We were proud to give the kind of donation that we were able to give this year to the testicular cancer foundation,” Goolsby said. “I know that it is a cause that is near and dear to JT’s heart. To be able to support that organization is a nice way for this department to give back and do something worthwhile.”

For more information about the Testicular Cancer Foundation go to its website at www.testicularcancer.org.