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John Kuhn, Santana Dotson take part in “Green, Gold and Growing” campaign for prostate cancer awareness

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GREEN BAY -- Green Bay Packers players past and present have always been up for good causes. Like all professional athletes, they need a competitive fix.

"We got a little challenge going on this year to see who can grow it back thicker and more full by the end of November," Packers FB John Kuhn said.

Athletes can turn anything into a competition, and this one is for a good cause.

Santana Dotson

Santana Dotson

"There's no way I'm going to let him beat me," former Packers DT Santana Dotson.

John Kuhn and Santana Dotson had their faces shaved in Milwaukee at the end of October to prepare for the "Green, Gold and Growing" campaign.

Throughout the month, they're growing back their beards to see who can do it better.

"Kuhn was probably in diapers or Pampers when I grew my first beard or facial hair -- so there's no way that he's going to grow a better beard than me in the next month," Dotson said.

John Kuhn

John Kuhn

"He struck first. He was the one who made the remark that he's been growing a beard since I was in diapers, so I'm going to have to show him how to really grow a beard," Kuhn said.

The duo teamed up with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Network to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

"Cancer strikes every single one of us at some point in time in our lives -- throughout our families and our friends and this is an instance we can fight back against it," Kuhn said.

"Prostate cancer is a very treatable cancer. It's a matter of getting the word out, having it talked about, so it's important for us to be able to partner with groups like this and get the word out," Dotson said.

"This is why we do this every year is because of the success stories -- because of the people that we reach, the people who did not know. It was not on their radar -- but they did get checked, they did have a physical and they found out that they did have prostate cancer and they can treat it," Kuhn said.

And that's the key, according to Dr. William See, a cancer surgeon at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. If it's detected early, prostate cancer is one of the most treatable cancers.

"But you can't wait for symptoms because symptoms don't occur until very late in the disease when most men are beyond treatment --  so effective treatment of prostate cancer is all about early detection and screening," Dr. See said.

That's really what this whole campaign is all about.

Dotson and Kuhn encouraged all men to grow out their facial hair and share pictures on Facebook.

John Kuhn vs. Santana Dotson

John Kuhn vs. Santana Dotson

John Kuhn vs. Santana Dotson

John Kuhn vs. Santana Dotson

"We know your hair and your facial hair is really important -- especially those of us who don't always grow facial hair, so the fact that November we can have it talked about -- like 'what's going on with your, you know, are your razors broken or are your clippers broken? Why aren't you shaving?' 'Well it's Prostate Cancer Awareness Month,'" Dotson said.

And simple as that, the door opens for a conversation. The more people who know the facts about prostate cancer, the less will suffer its deadly consequence.

"Well for men, it's simply that, if you are one of the risk factors, if you're over the age of 40, go get checked. And if you're a woman and you can't grow your facial hair out and you can't get screened then you influence the men around you, the people that you really care about to go get screened as well and you can play a big role yourself," Kuhn said.

Dotson and Kuhn are playing a large role in the fight against prostate cancer.

As for their smooth new look, don't expect it to come along again until next year's "Green, Gold and Growing" event.

"My daughters love dad with facial hair and actually they can't stand when I shave," Dotson said.

"My family has always really liked the beard and I'm nervous because my daughter is only seven months old. I don't want to scare her the first time she see's Daddy with a clean face," Kuhn said.

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