ST. LOUIS - Blues Associate Coach Brad Shaw wants to find a cure for cancer so bad you can see it on his face.
Since the beginning of the month, Shaw has been growing a mustache in support of Movember, which raises money and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer research.
Like nearly everyone else, Shaw has been affected by cancer in more than one way. His dad passed away from lung cancer nearly 10 years ago, and his son’s best friend died just eight months after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
“Those are two of the biggest reasons why I wear this,” Shaw said recently. “I miss (my dad) every day. And when I lived in Cincinnati, we watched our neighbors deal with their son’s battle with brain cancer. Being so close to such a great family and fine young man and watching him go through that battle is something I’ll never forget.”
Last January, Shaw visited his doctor for a routine colonoscopy, which revealed a golf-ball sized polyp on the wall of his colon that could have been life-threatening if undetected.
“I went in expecting a clean bill of health and got a scare,” Shaw said. “It’s a tough thing when you hear that 'cancer' word associated with your own life, especially when you feel as healthy as anybody.”
Shaw has Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray to thank for the early detection. Murray had announced he was battling Stage 4 colon cancer, and that motivated Shaw to get a routine check up.
Shaw had surgery to remove the polyp on a Wednesday and was back behind the bench the next day for a 5-4 shootout win against the Nashville Predators in the first game after the All-Star break.
After learning of Shaw’s colonoscopy findings, Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong and Sr. Advisor Al MacInnis both scheduled screenings for themselves. In addition, Shaw’s older brother and sister were checked immediately, and his son, Brady, will need to be screened early at age 40.
“There are stories like mine where it touches a few lives and you hope it touches as many as possible, and hopefully we can eradicate all this,” Shaw said. “Right now, there are ways to stay ahead of it.”
The Movember Foundation attempts to do just that. It began in 2003 and has raised more than $650 million to help with prostate and testicular cancer research. Movember has also funded more than 1,000 programs that work year-round to improve poor mental health and physical inactivity in men.
At Saturday’s game, fans can support the cause by purchasing limited edition Movember pucks outside Section 119. Pucks will be sold for $30 each and are autographed by current players and Hall of Famers Brett Hull, Al MacInnis and Bernie Federko. In addition, fans can purchase a Federko stick-on mustache for $5 each at any home game throughout the month of November.
“We’re in the spotlight a little more than the average person, so hopefully in that way, (my mustache) gets a little more noticed or has a little more impact,” Shaw said. “It’s actually a fun thing to do. I can’t take myself seriously when I look in the mirror, but hopefully it does the job and someday we’re not talking about this disease anymore.”
Blues fans not attending Saturday’s game can join the fight against prostate and testicular cancer by making a donation to the mustaches worn by Troy Brouwer, Robert Bortuzzo, Kelly Chase and Brad Shaw. Visit stlouisblues.com/movember to donate or to learn more. In addition, the Jeffrey Thomas Hayden Foundation has been established in honor of Brady Shaw’s childhood friend. Learn more at www.jthf.org.