Police try something different for cancer patients

Darian Graivshark
Baton Rouge Police Department, Gonzales Police Department, and Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office take a group photo presenting the check to American Cancer Society.

Ever thought about dedicating a month to not shaving your beard?

During No-Shave November, you can do just that, and it is all for a good cause!

No-Shave November is a month where participants can forget about shaving and grooming to help raise cancer awareness and evoke conversation. The Baton Rouge Police Department, Gonzales Police Department, and Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office all decided to partner together to not only raise awareness, but money too.

Coupled together, the departments raised a grand total of $8,500 dollars. Gonzales Police Department raised $700 dollars, Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office raised $2,485 dollars, and Baton Rouge Police Department raised $5,315. Participants just had to pay $25 dollars in order to be a part of No-Shave November. Even individuals who did not participate in growing their hair still donated towards the cause.

"What's great about donating to the American Cancer Society is that the donations are local. So, whatever Baton Rouge raised will go to Baton Rouge patients, what Gonzales raised will go to Gonzales patients, and so forth," Allison Hudson, Public Information Officer for Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, said.

"At first, of course, we were hesitant to do this because of the facial hair. However, we realized it was something unique and how much money we could raise for those who need it," Jonny Dunnam, Administration Bureau Commander and Captain for Baton Rouge Police, said. "We want them to know that it will definitely end in January though and go back to being groomed," he joked.

Every department has decided to extend raising money throughout December. However, the money raised this month isn't going to American Cancer Society. For Baton Rouge Police, they'll be donating the money raised this month for toys for underprivileged children at a school. For Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, the money will go towards Gulf County Sheriff's Office to help with the damage after the hurricane. Gonzales Police will also be donating toys for children this holiday season.

Ascension Parish Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bobby Webre said, "This is our third year that we have participated in No-Shave November. Being a military man, I was also hesitant about letting our officers do this. We came around to it, though, and many of our patrol officers were able to enjoy a unshaven, but presentable and professional face. We're hoping to raise more money to help spread Christmas cheer and continue to top our goals by extending it through December."

Chief Sherman Jackson of Gonzales Police Department said, "Donating to the American Cancer Society is personal for me. My father passed away from cancer, and today was his birthday. You get a better understanding of how cancer affects families, and you realize how much of a need there is for donations. It does my heart good to see people helping in this way, and I will always thank the American Cancer Society for what they do."

On December 4, the departments came together to present the $8,500 dollar check to Megan Pratt, Community Development Manager for the American Cancer Society in Baton Rouge.

Follow Darian on Twitter @dariangshark.