Last month, many chose to take part in “No-shave November” and forego shaving.

However, a lot of people — perhaps even some who participate in No-shave November festivities — may not know there is a reason behind making the decision to forego grooming.

Similarly, the “Ice Bucket Challenge" was designed to raise awareness and urge people to donate toward funding research for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.



Much the way the Ice Bucket Challenge arguably became less about the cause and more about posting a video of someone getting doused with a bucket of ice water, it is possible No-shave November’s meaning has been lost in the shuffle as well.

According to no-shave.org, the goal behind not shaving during the month of November is to use the money that would have gone toward shaving costs and donate it — seeking to raise both funding and awareness about cancer.

Several charities can help put donations to good use. Here are a few local and national links to some organizations.

National:

V Foundation for Cancer Research

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Local:

Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation

New Mexico Cancer Center Foundation

But just because some may be unaware of a cause’s significance or history doesn’t necessarily mean the campaign is any less successful. The ALS Association website reported a combined $115 million being donated during an eight-week period in 2014 alone as a result of the ice bucket challenge. And no-shave.org has tracked over $1.8 million being raised through its registered donors so far this year.

As a sports writer and a sports fan, I often share the speech former North Carolina State head basketball coach Jim Valvano delivered after he received the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award during the 1993 ESPY Awards. He died shortly afterward, but his legacy has endured with the founding of the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

For those who don’t remember, his NC State team won the 1983 NCAA Championship in Albuquerque, New Mexico on the floor of The Pit, defeating the Houston Cougars 54-52 in improbable fashion.

Between friends, family and co-workers, nearly everyone has been either directly or indirectly impacted by cancer. It has affected some of my family members, one of my closest friends and even one of the writers at the Daily Lobo as well.

The cause struck me as a noble one long ago, so for the past several years, I’ve been an active participant during No-shave November.

My beard has never been a sight to behold — growing full in some areas, wispy in others. Some of my co-workers have attempted to get the nickname “patches” to stick because of my inability to maintain symmetry.

Toward the end of the month, I decided to offer a unique spin on things this time around, originally reaching out to the sports desk and offering to let the writers decide the fate of my facial hair. I offered three options, knowing which one the staff was most likely to side with:

One — keeping the beard,

Two — shaving it completely off or

Three — splitting the difference and keeping facial hair on one side of the face, while shaving the other.

Each vote carried a price tag of $1, with the proceeds going to the charity. Things eventually extended to include the whole publication and a Twitter poll was created to give followers the chance to influence how things should play out.

And as you may have guessed, option three emerged as the overwhelming — though not unanimous — winner.

The thought did cross my mind to put up the necessary cash to swing the vote another way, but that would have been pretty unsatisfying to the rest of the donors — not to mention weak.

So, following Sunday’s editorial meeting, I prepped the right side of my face by trimming the facial hair and slathered on some shaving gel as reporters gathered around to make sure their money was well-spent.

For the first time in over a month, my face — or at least part of it — felt the touch of a razor blade, while the left side wondered why it wasn’t invited to the party. And in the end, I was left looking absolutely ridiculous — sporting half of the beard that took me so long to grow out.

Photos were taken, as well as cell phone videos that are likely to be uploaded to social media in the near future. 

But almost certainly, and more importantly, money was raised for cancer.

Several charities can help put donations to good use. Here are a few local and national links to some organizations:

National:

V Foundation for Cancer Research

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Local:

Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation

New Mexico Cancer Center Foundation

Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball, football and tennis. He can be contacted at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.