EL CENTRO — Carlos Ortiz, Imperial County Ag Commissioner, presented the No-Shave November campaign to the Imperial County Board of Supervisors, Tuesday, October 15, inviting them to participate and show support.
Started three years ago, the campaign was meant to raise awareness about men’s health, according to Ortiz. In the last three years, several employees from his department have participated in the month-long event. This year, Ortiz opened the campaign to all county departments, hoping to raise more awareness.
Ortiz explained the rules of the voluntary campaign. From November 1 through 30, participating individuals forgo shaving their faces. The money typically spent on maintenance expenses, such as razors, blades and shaving cream, is donated to the charity Ortiz selects.
This year, Ortiz selected the Amigos de Alejandro organization to receive the money raised through the campaign. In 2017, the campaign raised $519 and in 2018, $610 was raised. Anyone can participate or donate if they choose not to stop shaving.
According to Ortiz, foregoing shaving will prompt others to ask, “What’s with the beard?” in which the participant must be prepared to answer. Ortiz’s hope is that the unshaven faces of county employees will evoke a conversation about men’s health.
Ortiz explained how stubborn men are when it comes to their health. He said that when he, along with many others, feel something wrong in their body, they often choose to ignore it. Through the campaign, he hopes that more men will see the importance of getting annual checkups and keeping up to date with their health.
He wants to draw attention specifically to cancer and suicide among men. Individuals with suicidal thoughts — especially men — tend not to seek help, said Ortiz. He explained the importance of the campaign for him on a personal level.
“I believe in this cause," said Ortiz. "After the first campaign, my wife asked me if I would be doing it again the next year. I said no. Shortly after that, I heard my older brother had skin cancer. He passed away three months later. I decided as long as I’m an employee, I’m going to do the campaign.”
Ortiz asked supervisors and county employees to participate in the campaign by forgoing shaving, donating or wearing a “No-Shave November” bracelet. He also asked that any campaign participants be prepared to discuss men’s health and answer the question, “What’s with the beard?”