Grow a beard for Christmas and help fight bowel cancer

Frank Dutton, from Stagsden.

Frank Dutton, from Stagsden.

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A volunteer at the University of Bedfordshire has taken part in the launch of a campaign to fight bowel cancer.

Frank Dutton, 46, from Stagsden, featured at the launch of the Decembeard 2015 campaign in London on Thursday, September 24, in tribute to his father who died from the disease.

Beating Bowel Cancer’s Decembeard fundraising campaign asks men to stop shaving during December to raise funds to support those affected by bowel cancer, the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.

Frank featured in the Me, My Beard and Why photographic exhibition unveiled at the event. The special exhibition by award-winning street photographer, GarconJon, tells the story of brave, bearded individuals who have been affected by bowel cancer and who are supporting the campaign in aid of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer.

Frank, who gives campus tours at the university and is studying to become a primary schoolteacher, has a very personal reason to support the campaign as his father died of bowel cancer when Frank was just two years old and he has no real memory of him.

He joined other Decembeard ambassadors, cancer patients, media, bearded models and celebrities at the launch, which took place in London’s Covent Garden.

Each year more than 41,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, but if caught early, more than 90% of cases can be treated successfully.

Frank, who used to be a semi-professional ice hockey player, previously did a lot of fundraising for cancer charities but all fundraising activities were very physical - parachute jumps, ice hockey and football matches. A serious stomach injury in 2008 led to Frank being diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome which means he can no longer do anything physical.

He said: “I got involved in Decembeard after meeting a rep at a volunteer fair at the university. I took part last year and it was so easy for me to do.

“It was great. Here was something I could do to raise funds for a great charity that takes absolutely no effort. Basically you just ditch the razor for a month and get sponsored for it – and you even save on razors!

“I’m looking forward to doing it again this year and feel honoured to be part of the campaign and featured in the Me, My beard and Why exhibition.”

For more information about Decembeard or to sign up, go to www.decembeard.org. You can also check out the campaign @Decembeard_UK #decembeard.

Frank added: “I’d encourage anyone to get involved. It raises funds for a great cause and helps to spread awareness of the disease, which could lead to people being diagnosed earlier and that could save their lives.”

The funds raised will go to Beating Bowel Cancer. The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations and by raising funds through Decembeard, men can help fund a range of vital services that give people with bowel cancer help, hope and reassurance.

For more information about bowel cancer, visit www.beatingbowelcancer.org . Or if you have any concerns or queries, you can contact their nurse helpline on 020 8973 0011 or email nurse@beatingbowelcancer.org