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Bushy Beards The Answer To Skin Cancer

By Dan Hutton on June 4, 2013 in News

Photo: Tim Jones - www.timjones-photography.com

Photo: Tim Jones – www.timjones-photography.com

You may have seen him cruising around the Eastern Suburbs on his old treadly with upturned handlebars, commandeering his mate’s 1977 Land Rover Defender, or paddling about in the briny on a weird old blue surfboard. Strangely enough though, it’s unlikely any of these eye catching accompaniments would have been the first thing you noticed about the man affectionately known as Jimmy Niggles, nor would they have been what stuck in your mind. Rather, it is Niggles’ world-class beard that ensures people don’t quickly forget the encounter.

Jimmy started growing his beard back in 2011 when he and a couple of mates decided it would be a good idea to let their facial hair flourish for the entirety of winter, from June 1 to August 31. While his mates reluctantly reached for the razor at winter’s close, Jimmy decided that his job was not done.

“I’d grown a beard before and I’m a pretty hairy bloke so it gets bushy quite quickly. It’s always been a tough decision to remove it in the past because you do become quite attached to it. This time I decided to keep it growing and now it’s become part of my identity. It’s also been invaluable in helping to spread the message of sun safety and skin cancer prevention,” Niggles told The Beast.

Jimmy was a close friend of Wes Bonny, the young bloke immortalised by the compelling skin cancer ads that have been playing on television and movie screens for the past three summers. Having seen his mate go through hell battling the effects of melanoma, and knowing how few of his other mates had gone to get their skin checked, he, along with a few friends, decided to take the beard growing to the next level and launched an initiative known as ‘This Is Beard Season’.

The idea behind This Is Beard Season, which will have its official launch at the Bondi Pavilion on June 2, is to not only raise funds for the Melanoma Institute but also to encourage Australians to get down to their local skin cancer clinic or visit their GP and get a skin check.

“It’s kind of like Movember on steroids, I guess,” Niggles explained. “Rather than a moustache you have to grow a beard and rather than just one month you have to grow it for an entire season, from June 1 to August 31. And if you’ve already got a beard, that’s cool too; you don’t have to shave it off and start again. Just keep on growing and use it to spread the Beard Season skin check gospel!”

Currently, all Cancer Institute funding has to go towards promoting primary skin cancer prevention, such as the ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ and ‘No Such Thing As A Safe Tan’ messages. Skin cancer check-ups fall under the banner of secondary prevention and thus miss out on the funding needed to push the message. This Is Beard Season has been developed to help fill this void.

“It’s obviously still important to exercise sun safety, but inevitably a lot of us are going to end up with some level of sun exposure due to the lifestyles we’re lucky enough to enjoy in Australia. The risk of melanoma is higher in Australia than anywhere else in the world so it just makes sense to go and get your skin checked. It’s relatively cheap, easy and the peace of mind it gives you is priceless,” Niggles said.

The website for This Is Beard Season is currently under construction but it should be live any day now at www.thisisbeardseason.com.au. In the meantime, jump on to Facebook, search for This Is Beard Season, click ‘like’ to stay in the loop, and start growing the biggest, bushiest beard that you manliness can muster!

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