Local man grows beard for a cause

2012-11-26T11:30:00Z Local man grows beard for a causeDebra Jacobsen/Tribune correspondent Fremont Tribune
November 26, 2012 11:30 am  • 

From the starting stubble, this year is different.

William C. (Bill) Dugan has a growing desire to contribute to a cause.

To observe “Grow-out November,” the Fremont man began growing a beard.

“To bring awareness to prostate cancer and men’s health in general,” Dugan said.

A stroke of luck will benefit a charity.

American Cancer Society statistics project there will be 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer this year and about one in six men will be diagnosed with the disease during his lifetime.

“Billy’s grandfather and great-grandfather had prostate cancer,” said Dugan’s mother, Jane Dugan.

Unlike “Movember” — which has razor-sharp rules that require a mustache only to highlight prostate cancer awareness — Bill is growing a full beard.

Even women can participate in grow-out month by refraining from shaving their legs during November, Bill mused.

Bill’s beard is beneficial.

“Before, it was to keep warm,” Bill said. “Living in colder climates made it easy to see the benefit.”

A 2000 graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., Bill warmed up to the idea of facial hair.

“There were signs up at school warning people before they went outside,” Bill said. “There was a risk of frostbite within five minutes of exposure.”

“The first winter I was there, the windchill was minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit with the temperature minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit for about two weeks,” he noted.

Later, after earning a degree in sociology and anthropology, Bill moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo.

“I ran a ski shop for six years,” Bill said. “I typically grew a beard from Labor Day to Memorial Day — from the beginning to the end of cold weather.”

A few years ago, Bill joined the family business. He is a funeral director at Dugan Funeral Chapel in Fremont.

He talked to others about observing grow-out month.

A few bristled at the idea, but some friends agreed to participate.

“Now that there is something behind it, I get off easier with people who disapprove,” he said.

What about the after shave?

As the days of November grow shorter, a bewhiskered (or clean-shaven) Bill will contribute to the American Cancer Society on behalf of prostate cancer awareness.

“It’s good to celebrate a cause,” Jane Dugan said.

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