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Brothers in beards

Septembeard urges men to ‘be a hero’ in fight against prostate cancer

Promise - Summer 2013

Septembeard urges men to ‘be a hero’ in fight against prostate cancer

Art Wagner, center, founder of Septembeard, poses with his 2011 whiskers-growing team from San Francisco: Dave Brown, from left, Lance Page, Bob Daily and John Rollo. Photo courtesy of Septembeard By Victor Scott

Luck shouldn’t be a requirement for surviving cancer as far as Art Wagner is concerned.

When Wagner was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009, he felt extremely lucky to be near a world-renowned urologist, who saved his life.  

“I wanted to help men anywhere in the country who didn't have the same geographic luck as I did,” says Wagner, who lives in San Francisco.  “From my point of view, funding prostate cancer research seemed the best way to help.”

Inspired by the tradition of male athletes growing beards before playoffs or as part of a championship run as a way to show support for their team, and aware that September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Wagner founded Septembeard in 2011.

“I thought it would be great if millions of men throughout the country would grow beards throughout September,” says Wagner.  “And if someone asked them why they were doing it, they could try to get them to donate to Septembeard, so we could help eliminate prostate cancer.”

Wagner wanted donations from Septembeard to make the greatest impact possible.  He realized no single prostate cancer research program was going to find a cure and that a team effort among the most promising programs was the best approach.  After researching programs across the country, he chose seven, including one at MD Anderson.

After successful events in 2011 and 2012, Septembeard has raised $403,000 and donated $43,000 to MD Anderson.

Timothy C. Thompson, Ph.D., professor of genitourinary medical oncology research at MD Anderson and a man with his own beard, knows the value of this support to the prostate cancer research he leads.

“We’re really excited to be recipients of Septembeard’s support,” says Thompson.  “It’s a very creative organization. These men know about the needs in prostate cancer research and understand the importance of moving important therapeutic concepts from the laboratory into the clinic as quickly as possible.”

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