Waxahachie Police Officers will be sporting beards over the next few months to bring awareness to the health issues me routinely face.

This effort is part of the national movement called "Movember." The department is also raising funds for research through T-shirts sales for the Testicular Cancer Foundation.

The Movember Foundation’s website stated that Movember started in Australia in 2003 and has grown into a global movement. More than five million people have given their support, time, or have made financial contributions to bring awareness or fund research to help with men’s health issues. Some of these problems include prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention.

“We did $5,000 last year, and then we had an anonymous donor would match up to $10,000. We ended up doing the most for the entire state last year,” Waxahachie Police Officer James Taylor said. “This year we have got a new design coming out. Our plan right now is that we are going to have two colors. We plan our first sale around the Bob Philips Festival. All the proceeds go to the Testicular Cancer Foundation.”

Movember shirts can be purchased at the police department for $20 each and come in gray or green with sizes ranging from small to 3XL. This year's design includes the state of Texas with the word “united” printed across the front. It also features the phrase “united we fight to end testicular cancer.” Shirts will be available to purchase at the Waxahachie Police Department, located at 216 N. College St.

Taylor, who is a cancer survivor, stated that the Movember campaign is a way to shine a light on these issues and start conversations. The Testicular Cancer Foundation’s website states that testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15 - 34 years. Each hour another man is diagnosed with a case of testicular cancer.

“It is something that all guys are guilty of. Women are quick to go to the doctor. A guy will let something ride unless it makes him bedridden. He will not go to the doctor. So many people are that way and don’t go to the doctor,” Taylor said. “I think that men in society are generally oblivious to it. Unless it is profusely bleeding or hurting, we are not going to go.”

Taylor stated that type of attitude needs to change because not taking care of an issue before it becomes a problem can be life-changing and not for the better. He wants to encourage men to start having these conversations and make regular trips to the doctor so they can enjoy a full life.

Funds are also being raised by donations from officers who wish to have a beard for November and December. If an officer desires to grow a goatee, it is $25 donation. It is a $50 donation if they wish to grow out a full beard.

“They didn’t get to start until Oct. 8, which was the first date they could grow the beards.We have already raised several hundred dollars from officers here in-house just from officers wanting to grow facial hair,” Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby said. “In fact, we had one officer who had been off for a couple of weeks and already grown a beard. He paid $150 so he wouldn’t have to shave in-between going back to work. So I gave him a couple of extra days just for the donation. So it is all in fun, and it is for a great cause. The guys really have fun with it.”

Donations can also be made online to the Waxahachie Police Department’s campaign at www.beardpatrol.org.