Growing beards to raise cancer awareness

Church brings awareness to prostate cancer
Published: Nov. 27, 2022 at 11:02 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

A local church has put a new definition to “No Shave November,” using it to bring awareness to the disease.

Raul Blansini is a 26-year cancer survivor and a longtime member of Sutton Free Will Baptist Church in Pocahontas. For the past nine years, he has used the month of November to collect donations for the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation.

After his battle, he felt that he had a duty to fulfill.

“The Lord gave me the opportunity to educate people about prostate cancer,” said Blansini.

After Blansini was diagnosed, the only person he could think about was his daughter.

He said education about prostate cancer has changed from when he was diagnosed years ago.

“We have an open door, and we support the people that come in and need support or help, so we help them the best we can,” said Blansini.

Pastor Kevin Barnett has had his own personal battles with the disease.

After his father and others in the congregation were diagnosed, Barnett has one tip for those struggling.

“You got to be willing to open up and talk about it,” Barnett said. “I know that’s tough for some.”

Catching cancer early is the biggest key to survival. According to the CDC, the survival rate of those who caught it before it spreads is 98%. Raul said check-ups are a must.

“These young people have family members with cancer, and they need to be at least 35 years and up, to go get a check-up,” said Blansini.

This year the church raised more than $1,200 in donations. The proceeds go to the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation.