man in backwards baseball cap gets his mustache shaved by woman holding razor to his face
Retired New York City Police Department detective Bill Young gets his shave-down.

9/11 First Responder Kicks Off Prostate Cancer FUNdraiser



Join Us for the Big Shave Off




Fullsteam Brewery
726 Rigsbee Ave
Durham, NC
This event has passed.

by D'Ann George, program development coordinator, Duke Cancer Institute Development (Dec. 8, 2023)

A group of 14 men standing together in front of six glass windows and a picture of a water tower
THE "BEFORE" PHOTO Fifteen men volunteered to shear their whiskers for the cause, including five firemen from Morrisville, several Duke clinicians, a bartender from Fullsteam, and a retired police detective from New York City.
Man in a backwards baseball cap and lit up reindeer antlers holds up a sparkly red dress
FESTIVE Bob Young, in the holiday spirit, at Beer and Beards for Bros

This year’s Beer and Beards for Bros, held for the first time since 2019, raised nearly $10,000 for research at the Duke Cancer Institute Center for Prostate and Urologic Cancers. By all appearances, the event, held at Fullsteam Brewery on Dec. 1, raised even more fun than funds.

The 15 men who volunteered to shear their whiskers for the cause included five firemen from Morrisville, several Duke employees, a bartender from Fullsteam, dads with adorable children clinging to them, and a retired detective from the New York City Police Department, who was the first to part with his mustache.

Even the auctioneer, Sam Poley, got into the action and bid off his own beard. Poley said he volunteered his time and talent in memory of his late father, who was treated for prostate cancer at Duke.

Mohawks, Leopard Skins, and Pink Flamingos

Auction winners directed a team of stylists from the Arrow “guaranteed shorter hair” barbershop on how they wanted the men shaved. Their crowning achievement came when one of the firemen incentivized the audience to bid higher by agreeing to “go full mohawk.”

Before the night was over, all of the men shamelessly shed their street clothes to don frippery chosen by auction winners from a table of costumes.

The bartender, who sported the thickest, blackest beard of them all, looked jarring in his blonde curly wig and white bedazzled frock.

Travis Henry, MD, a Duke radiologist, dressed as a fluffy bear. Medical oncologist Mike Harrison, MD, wore a shirt emblazoned with giant pink flamingos and a red headband attached to a messy blonde wig.

But the highest bid — almost $2,000 — went to Raj Gupta, MD, a DCI radiologist who sported a leopard coat and a white mink scarf. His dashing ensemble was chosen by his two young daughters, who placed the winning bid.

Police Officer Wins “Most Hilarious” Contest

The NYPD detective, Bob Young, struggled to squeeze into a strapless, red sparkly dress with a blue-and-white starred petticoat, which he topped off with reindeer antlers embellished with multi-colored Christmas lights.

Young easily won the prize for “most hilarious.” But the sequins did not stop him from kicking off the event with a moving speech about why prostate cancer research and excellent clinical care mean so much to him.

First Responders and Genitourinary Cancers

"People usually get prostate cancer in their 60s, but the 9/11 responders were getting it in their 30s and 40s,” said Young.

As president of the 50135 club, a benevolent association for retired police officers in Raleigh, Young said that "Beer and Beards for Bros" was the first charitable event that he has attended since the pandemic.

Likewise, the five firemen who attended said that the shave-off was their first post-pandemic philanthropic event. Nick Young, president of the association, heard about the event from his fiancé, Sarah Omwenga, RN, an oncology nurse at Duke.

Young said that testicular, thyroid, and throat cancer are prevalent among firefighters due to the chemical exposures they face on the job.

“We’re coming back next year,” said the elder Young. “And we’re bringing friends. There are 120 retired policemen in my club. And 20 of them have cancer. I want the ones with prostate cancer to be seen at Duke.”


From the Archives

A woman uses a raiser to shave a man's face that's covered in shaving cream, and whose had iss wrapped in a white towel
Daniel George, MD, visits Pedro Williams barbershop for a complimentary shave down before growing out his facial hair in November. (photo from 2015)
Four men in white lab coats stand together
FLASHBACK: In 2012, Michael Harrison, MD, Andrew Armstong, MD, MSc, Dan George, MD, and Judd Moul, MD, pose following their November grow out.