For the next few months, Waxahachie Police officers will sport beards in their efforts to bring awareness to health issues men face.
Officers will raise funds for research through T-shirts and hat sales for the Testicular Cancer Foundation. Through the generosity of the community and anonymous donors, the department was able to raise $11,165.52 last year. They hope to raise $25,000 this year.
Waxahachie Police officer James Taylor, who is a testicular cancer survivor, stated the campaign is a way to shine a light on these issues and start conversations.
“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.”
The Testicular Cancer Foundation 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.
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 encourages men to start having these conversations and make regular trips to the doctor so they can enjoy a full life.
Officers will kick off the campaign would on Oct. 27 at the Texas Country Reporter Festival. Shirts can be purchased for $20 each with sizes ranging from small to 3XL or two shirts for $35. There is also a limited supply of 4XL shirts. Shirts are black and feature a Spartan helmet design.
Adjustable-fit baseball-style hats will be sold as for $20. Purchases can be made with cash or credit card.
After the festival, purchases can be made at the police station, located at 630 Farley Street. Several sale remotes are planned, but dates have not been set at this time. Businesses can also participate with corporate sponsorship of the campaign.
Funds are also being raised by donations from officers who wish to have a beard from October-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. Residents can sponsor an officer to grow a beard or a goatee.
Assistant Police Chief Joe Wiser stated the department is proud to take part in this event, which brings officers and the community together.
“We are excited, and we are just getting started in the campaign. People started Friday growing their beards,” Wiser said. “The idea of playing a role in finding a cure excites and unifies us together. We are not looking at this as a competition, but only as a way to help.”
Wiser said the department has been fortunate to have the support of the community, people who have matched donations, and the help of the department’s police association over the years. He also thanked everyone in advance for their support.
Businesses who are interested in sponsorship can contact Taylor at the department at 469-309-4400.
People who wish to make a donation should visit give.beardpatrol.org/team/WaxahachiePoliceDepartment
For information about the Testicular Cancer Foundation, go to www.testicularcancer.org.