Waxahachie police officers are putting their razors and shavers under arrest and setting their beards free this November as the department’s “Beard Patrol” sets out to raise funds, and awareness, for testicular cancer.
The department’s Testicular Cancer Awareness Fundraiser, spearheaded by testicular cancer survivor Officer James Taylor, is in its fifth year and has already raised about $4,000 as of Oct. 15.
“The donations that we have received is why we do what we do,” Taylor said. “The support that we receive from the surrounding businesses is overwhelming. People want to help. People want to stand behind something that is real.”
Waxahachie police officers and co-owners of Ellis County Blue Line Moving, Abe Partington and Danny Knight, recently presented a $1000 check to the fundraiser on behalf of the moving company — just as they did last year.
“JT is our brother. I work on the same shift as JT. I know his struggles,” Knight explained. “I know what he deals with after being a survivor, and so my brother comes to me and asks me for help with something, I’m going to help him do it.”
Taylor was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2008 when he was 30 years old.
“Getting the diagnosis is rough. It is one that you never want to face,” Taylor acknowledged. “Facing that diagnosis changes your perception of so many things. Life becomes very short. When you are fighting for your life, one of the biggest things that I cannot emphasize enough is to have a positive attitude no matter what.”
The disease, which develops in the testicles, spread to other organs in Taylor’s body and presented quite a fight even for a tough cop.
“When my battle metastasized to stage four, it ran rampant in my right lung, my lymph nodes, many of my organs, including my brain,” the cancer survivor recalled. “I was blessed with a God that felt that I should be on this earth much longer, a fleet of great doctors and medical personnel in Baylor Dallas that were able to… come up with a customized treatment plan that worked for me.”
The fundraiser is selling T-shirts and hats, starting Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Texas Country Reporter Festival in downtown Waxahachie in the vicinity of the Ellis County Historic Courthouse. A hat or T-shirt costs $20. Customers can get two shirts for $35.
“We partnered with him last year and helped him with the T-shirts and it was a no-brainer when he came back to us this year,” Knight pointed out.
From the sales and donations, the fundraiser brought in $25,000 last year.
“We raised the most money of all the departments in the state, which is outstanding for our small city, that is rapidly growing,” Taylor boasted.
Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among males ages 15 – 34, according to the Testicular Cancer Foundation. Signs of the disease include lumps, swelling and/or pain in a testicle or scrotum.
Fortunately, “it is one of the most beatable forms of cancer,” the TCF notes.
“This cause means everything to me,” Taylor reiterated. “Speaking from a survivor’s standpoint, without the generosity of our donors, the community and the various other support groups, none of this is possible ... We do this for the sole purpose of raising awareness, education for those with questions and providing support to those who are newly diagnosed, currently under treatment and ... have completed treatment.”
To donate, click here.
Taylor said all funds raised go to the Testicular Cancer Foundation.