The final day of November in 2016 saw CTF Facility B offenders growing facial hair to raise awareness for men’s health issues. CTF is doing it again this year and challenges other institutions to do the same.

By Correctional Training Facility staff

Last year in November, inmates and staff on Facility B at Correctional Training Facility (CTF) helped raise awareness and support for the Movember Foundation by growing a mustache for 30 days, Nov. 1-30. The event collected donations from the inmate population on Facility B and raised awareness for men’s health across the institution. This year, CTF’s Facility B staff are encouraging the rest of CDCR to join the cause.

The goal of the Movember Foundation is to stop men dying too young on a global scale, by addressing some of the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

The CTF Movember event was coordinated by Facility B Capt. Darren Chamberlain and Inmate Advisory Council (IAC) Chairman Teejay Steele.

Capt. Chamberlain, who was familiar with the foundation, had toyed with the idea back in 2015 about hosting an event in a prison. But being a newly promoted Captain at the time, and having just returned back to CTF from SVSP, it wasn’t in the cards. The idea of doing the event in 2016 happened pretty quickly with less than a week before Nov. 1. The clock was ticking to make it happen and the idea of pushing it off for another year wasn’t going to happen.

Capt. Chamberlain sent the idea to his IAC and they jumped on the chance to do this unique event. With little time to waste, the facility garnered the support of inmates and multiple staff on the facility. To raise awareness, the facility held a mustache competition for the inmates. The contest saw 45 inmates growing the best ‘stache they could within that 30-day period, starting from a fresh shaven face. In addition, Facility B staff and Administrators held a mustache contest of their own.

One inmate on Facility B in particular had a personal reason to support this cause, because he himself is a cancer survivor.

Robert White was diagnosed with seminoma testicular cancer three years ago after he thought something might be wrong. It took multiple doctors and tests to reach a diagnosis.

“Only you know your body. Being aware of my own body saved my life,” White said. “As men, we’re always told to tough things out and suck it up if we’re hurt. With testicular and prostate cancer, it’s better to get checked regularly as the symptoms don’t always show.”

He said he was truly grateful to have this event and be able to participate, and hopes it will continue yearly and grow.

Facility B at CTF is again hosting the event. And they are challenging the rest of CDCR to do the same.

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