Established in 2010, Beard Season is an Australian based, non profit, health promotion charity.
Our goal is to turn beards into life saving conversation starters in the fight against melanoma one of the world's deadliest cancers.
We are the original 'winter beard growing challenge' hence the name Beard Season. The annual event lasts from the 1st of June to the 31st of August in the Southern Hemisphere and from the 21st of December to the 3th of March in the Northern Hemisphere.
HERE'S WHAT WE'RE UP TO:
THE RULES ARE SIMPLE:
- Grow your beard for winter.
- Get a skin check
- Spread the word
Our mate Roger works in finance, bless him.
He decided to grow his beard for winter and really stood out amongst his more traditional (bald face) colleagues.
Midway through a client meeting he was asked about his glorious new chin warmer. He said, "Thank you for enquiring my friend, I am growing this beard for Beard Season and it could well save your life".
Amongst approving, curious nods, the enquirer asked "How?"
Well, said Roger, "this beard is a walking, talking billboard, challenging all those who encounter it to get a skin check with their GP or dermatologist". After some discussion about melanoma, and "always wanting to get book an appointment but never getting around to it", Roger took a photo of them both as a memento of the occasion, doing the 'Beard Season Point' and tagging his client on social media so as to be accountable to have a #BeardSeasonSkincheck.
Two weeks later, Roger gets a call.
It's his client. The enquirer.
"Mate thank you so much for that chat the other day" sounding elated, "The doc found a suss looking spot on my back which they had biopsied and I just got my results back. It's an early stage melanoma!" If they hadn't got to it as early as they did they reckon I'd be cactus (in Dire Straights).
"The thing is Roger" his client explained - almost sobbing, "I've got two kids. I run a business. You don't know how grateful I am I asked about your beard!" Now when Roger walks into a board room with his big bushy beard, he wears with the pride of knowing it's saved a life - and so much more.
And this is happening all over the world each and every winter on an awe inspiring scale. Some of the messages we receive will blow your mind. Solemn, inspiring reminders of how important your Beard Season can be.
WHAT’S THE STORY?
Back in 2010 we lost our mate Wes Bonny to melanoma. He was only 26.
Ever since, we've been carefully building a community of over 80,000 people from all around the world.
We've spoken at TEDx, been invited on talk shows, appeared in prime time TV features and even co-hosted a BEARD exhibition London with one of the greatest portrait photographers of our time, attracting over 35,000 visitors.
All of this has contributed to our biggest achievement...
Convincing people like you to visit your local doctor or skin specialist to have a #BeardSeasonSkincheck.
And because of people like you, we now save an average a life a week.
Well... After a little research at our mate’s wake, we discovered the people who are most at risk of melanoma are aged between 18 and 45. The majority of which are men.
The reason is a lot of blokes think they’re bulletproof and only really think about sun damage if they're skin is peeling or a mole starts bleeding. On top of this, they’re the least likely to go and see a doctor to make sure everything is ok. So, we needed something focussed on commitment to kick off these kind of conversations.
As we were sitting there at the Star Hotel. Sipping on schooners in disbelief of what happened to Wes, we spied some old farmers in the corner of the bar. Something about them was captivating… They all had spectacular beards! It was like God, King Titan and lumberjacks had all manifested themselves in this group of larrikin bushmen. Goading us to grow beards - like no one our age was back then. So, we thought we’d give it a crack. We did it for winter, called it Beard Season and the whole idea kicked off. We figured if you could commit to growing a beard for three months, you should be able to commit to visiting your skin specialist. Plus they make great ice breakers. Starting thousands of conversations which turn into genuine, inspiring 'Public Service Announcements'. Challenging sports teams, work mates, friends and family to get a #BeardSeasonSkincheck.
Plus... every bloke is curious to see what kind of facial foliage they can cultivate. And Beard Season provides the ideal growing conditions.
In the colder months, we tend to spend a lot less time in the sun. Which means suss looking spots are a lot easier for a skin specialist to find.
It's also the perfect temperature for beard growing. Providing a delightful winter chin coat for our valuable ambassadors to chat with.
We want everyone who takes part in Beard Season to save at least one life - every winter. Someone who might not be here if it weren’t for our friendly, furry advice.
Each person saved adds to our #BeardSeasonVictories,
the key KPI for our charity.
Alongside this, we’d love to pioneer a free national skin check program.
Because if people are finding it hard to see a specialist, why not bring the specialist to the people. Making these appointments far more affordable and accessible.
We have trialled this program at various events around the country and results have been staggering. With up to a third of the people checked finding at least one suspect lesion.
If Beard Season can help lower the melanoma death rate in Australia (around the world) by increasing the rates of early detection - we will be very happy indeed.
We’d love every beard that you see be a reminder to get a #BeardSeasonSkincheck.
Making beards stand for something far greater than a fashion trend or lifestyle choice. We want them to motivate and inspire. Helping those who are most at risk (men) become powerful advocates for action. Turning the tide of complacency about a horrible cancer which currently affects two out of every three Australians and many more around the world. In effect, outgrowing melanoma.
It'd be an honour to have you on board...