No Shave November and Other Important Observances This Month

Heather Randolph, Reporter

As October comes to an end and we put away the gremlins and ghouls of Halloween, we move on to November, which is not exclusively a turkey- and football-filled month.

November marks many national awareness movements. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as national Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Back then, less than two million people had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; today, more than 5.4 million people have this incurable disease. President Reagan himself died of complications of this disease in 2004.

One of the most well-known causes for awareness is No Shave November, a tradition traced to Australia in 2004, when 30 men grew moustaches for 30 days to raise awareness of depression in men and prostate cancer. Not shaving for a cause can also be linked to ancient Greece and, while November was not a month in his day, Aristotle and his disciples would not shave in order to imitate the gods, in hopes to become as knowledgeable as them, thus starting the tradition of not shaving for ethical reasons.

November also marks National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer accounts for 27 percent of all cancer deaths and is by far the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and woman. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than from colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Lung cancer awareness used to be a single day in February in 1995, but it has since grown myriad times and now takes up the whole month in November.

The start of the holiday season, which November marks, is not always a joyous time for everyone. Any news station or mobile app you open often shows someone who has died by choice. That’s why Nov. 19 is National Survivors of Suicide Day. It was designated by Congress as a day when the friends and family of those who have died by suicide can join together for healing and support.

This day always falls on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. In 1999, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Utah introduced a resolution to the Senate which led to the creation of National Survivors of Suicide Day. Reid is a survivor of his father’s suicide. As citizens of other countries began observing the day in their local communities, it was renamed as International Survivors of Suicide Day.

There are many other important observances we are reminded of this month, such as:

  • Anti-Bullying Week (Nov. 16-20)
  • Dyslexia Awareness Week (Nov. 2-8)
  • National Novel Writing Month
  • World Kindness Day (Nov. 13)
  • National Diabetes Awareness Month
  • Prematurity Awareness Day (Nov. 17)
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month
  • National Epilepsy Awareness Month