November is a pretty hairy month in Lane County. The annual Grow Your Mo campaign is underway: Twelve teams of men, no razors for 30 days and one big goal: to raise money for the Oregon Cancer Foundation.

For the Eugene Emeralds office staff, Grow Your Mo is an interesting challenge for the normally clean-shaven bunch.

“I’ve never grown facial hair ever, this is the first time. I’m actually surprised at how well this caterpillar has grown in,” General manager Allan Benavides says.

“For the first couple weeks, none of us even looked like we were growing anything except for Danny, our graphic designer. He can really grow a good beard,” says Cam LaFerle, a ticket sales representative for the Ems.

At Thurston High School in Springfield, the beards and moustaches aren’t the only thing growing these days—the school’s Grow Your Mo team continues to grow.

“The size of our team increases week to week because more and more men are getting intrigued by the idea of using their face to raise funds for the Oregon Cancer Foundation,” says principal Chad Towe.

“It’s a lot of fun to gather together for a photo every week, to see and hear from the other guys participating about how their facial hair is progressing, and to hear from the students. The kids have plenty of commentary about it,” says Thurston High teacher Joe Roberson.

While bragging rights are up for grabs for the competing teams, the Grow Your Mo
Campaign is an opportunity to spread awareness about Oregon Cancer Foundation’s Financial Assistance Program, which provides stop-gap financial support to cancer patients undergoing treatment in Lane County.

“Cancer can be a long battle that goes on for years and the bills pile up and expenses happen,” says Derek Vinti, WVCI’s former director of clinical services. “In my 25 years of nursing, I’ve realized that we take care of more than just the patient. We take care of the family and the work the Oregon Cancer Foundation does allows the patient and the people supporting the patient to focus on the patient’s care.”

“People ask questions like ‘What’s going on with the beard?'” WVCI gynecologic oncologist Dr. Charles Anderson says. “That brings up the discussion about the foundation and what we’re trying to do and how we’re raising money. It’s a good conversation starter.”

Grow Your Mo has started a few conversations for the team from Academic Achievement Center in Eugene (AAC).

“Cancer touches so many people locally. I’m really glad we can do something like this for our community and for those who are afflicted with cancer. Every little bit helps,” says AAC co-owner Michael Angelestro.

“What’s awesome about Grow Your Mo is that the money raised stays here,” adds Benevides. “It all stays local and helps families that are going through some real tough times. That’s what makes this really special.”

These teams are also competing for the coveted Golden Razor Award, which will go to the team that raises the most money, to be awarded at the Grow Your Mo Aftershave Community Celebration.

Join the celebration on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6-9pm at Oakshire Brewing Public House. Oakshire, which also has a Grow Your Mo team, is generously donating $1 from each beer sold on Dec. 1 to Oregon Cancer Foundation.

Check out this year’s Grow Your Mo teams and vote for your favorites ($1 = 1 vote). To find out more about the campaign and Aftershave Celebration, click here.