Harvey Cedars Police team up with David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation
Police departments across the Jersey Shore and the entire state are putting their razors in the cabinet and leaving them there as they let their facial hear grow out in full length to raise awareness of testicular & prostate cancer as well as men's health during November.
Each year at this time the Harvey Cedars Police Department led by Chief Robert Burnaford put the razors down and not only raise awareness of the causes this month but also collect donations for a worthy cause.
David's Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps those affected by a cancer diagnoses and their families.
The story of this partnership goes back to 2016 when Chief Burnaford's mother was battling colorectal cancer but before she passed in 2017 she requested donations raised by Harvey Cedars Police, approximately $10,000 go towards the Abramson Cancer Center at UPenn where she was treated.
Shortly after she passed David Caldarella reached out to Burnaford about what was happening in his life and a partnership was born.
"It started with our police department and then we contacted the other police departments on Long Beach Island and we started getting together and growing beards and raising awareness," Burnaford said.
The donations raised from the awareness go towards DDBCF where Executive Director Dani Corso explains they provide financial aid, wellness services and hope to New Jersey families affected by cancer.
"When a family is diagnosed with cancer, we become a resource for them," Corso said. "We provide a check to the family to be utilized for housing, utilities, food costs, co-pays, basically any financial stresser that would make a diagnoses more difficult to overcome."
DDBCF raises funds and awareness by holding various events throughout the month and year to help those affected by cancer feel more comfortable opening up about it and battling financial burdens.
"Cancer is scary, it's not easy to talk about and we like to be the light in all of that darkness and we find ways through events and our relationships with people to make it as comfortable to talk about," Corso said.
A part of spreading awareness is by sharing with others how cancer has impacted your life.
"When you talk to people, you tell your story, you tell your feelings and how much it actually means to you," Burnaford said. "It's really just about hitting home and speaking to people and being honest and open and sharing your feelings."
While you'll see the occasional moustache on a police officer, most departments have a minimal or no facial hair policy.
Those rules are relaxed this month as law enforcement joins the awareness campaign, which includes talking about it.
"A majority of people are affected one way or another whether it's themselves, their family or friends, cancer is everywhere so this gives the officers a chance to grow their facial hair, break the rules for a month but start that conversation," Burnaford.
While #noshavenovember gets most of its attention for testicular and prostate cancer in men, it's also about raising awareness and encouraging men to make sure they're taking care of themselves and their mental health.
Burnaford says it's important as well for the men in blue to open up.
"You need to ask for that help, everybody needs help," Burnaford said. "You have to ask for help and when someone reaches out for help, we need to listen. I think as we move forward, everyday officers are starting to open up more but it's really important for any law enforcement officer out there to know that they can ask for help and they can talk and it's not something to be ashamed of, it's very important."
#noshavenovember will become #dontshavedecember for Harvey Cedars Police and many along LBI who are showing support and helping raising funds for an injured brother in blue, retired Ship Bottom Police Officer Scott Barr, who was hit by a car when he got out to help an accident in October.
There is a GoFundMe page set up for Barr and his family.
If you are able and would like to donate to DDBCF, click here.
Learn More about the #noshavenovember awareness campaign and DDBCF: