If you’ve seen more men sporting some scruff lately, it may be the beginnings of a beard they are growing for No-Shave November. The concept has caught on like crazy in recent years, but many of the men who are growing out their facial hair don’t know the significance of No-Shave November.

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The movement started in 2009 in memory of Michael Hill, who died of colon cancer in 2007. According to the No-Shave November website, the goal is to “grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free.”  It applies to men as well as women, who are encouraged to put down the razor for a month. You can go to the organization’s website and officially register and raise funds for cancer awareness. The idea is to donate the money you would normally use for grooming. The cause has raised $10 million dollars over the years.

While No-Shave November specifically raises awareness for cancer, a movement called Movember advances men’s health concerns. Movember is a time for men to grow out their moustaches. Their website says the idea came from a couple of guys from Australia after a few drinks. The goal is to bring awareness to men’s initiatives, concentrating specifically on testicular and prostate cancer along with mental health and suicide prevention. The group has raised $18.2 million to date.

A lot of folks just shelve the razor in November for kicks. However, when you see a bearded fellow—or (gasp!) a woman with shaggy legs, keep in mind the cause behind all the shag.

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