Some years ago, a fine gentleman named Jimmy Niggles realised that raising awareness of anything required discussion and one of the easiest ways to start a discussion was to change your appearance. All of a sudden, everyone wants to know why you look different and discussion is struck up very quickly and simply. And so his “Beardseason” campaign was launched due to the recent loss of one of his surfer mates to Melanoma.
Jimmy himself grew a winter beard and encouraged other men to do the same. Then when people asked about the beard, his encouragement is to take the opportunity to remind the enquirer of the importance of regular skin checks.
Melanoma is a massive killer (particularly here in Australia) and while I don’t have the ability to take extended time off work and walk around Australia dressed like a storm trooper or run from Brisbane to Broome or many other fine ideas that people do to raise awareness or funds for various research ideas or development concepts, rather than get caught up in what I can’t do, I decided to do something I can do.
So I made trimming my normally very neatly clipped, designer facial stubble a thing of the past and decided to just let it grow (yep, I’m singing it just like you are!). Exactly as Jimmy predicted, people inevitably do indeed ask, what’s with the fuzz, and I do get right in and tell them about Jimmy, the Beardseason campaign and their need of regular skin checks. I grew my beard last winter as part of the Beardseason effort, but this year I started very late in the season (12 August) but have decided to aim for a “Yeard” (a year of beard).
As a particularly spotty person myself, I get regular skin checks. I also wear very sun protective clothing whenever I’m in it as well as sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses and anything else I can find to keep the sun off my ridiculously sensitive skin. And for those who don’t have sensitive skin and love a good tan, you are at an even higher risk…the tanning is damaging your skin and it’s ability to heal and potentially long term and even life threatening damage cannot be undone. Every time you tan, it is accumulating and increasing your risk of death from Melanoma.
I won’t go on about it, because I know many of you simply don’t care and are going to tan anyway, but that is the reason for my “Yeard”…thanks for asking!
I don’t know if I’ll make the whole year, but I’m doing something…