John Kuhn looked at the multitude of television cameras, photographers and about 50 members of the staff at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center and the hospital’s Prostate Cancer Support Group and looked a little … uncomfortable.
It seemed odd, because after all, the Green Bay Packers fullback has spent a lot of time in front of cameras in his nine-year NFL career.
"That’s the most awkward thing of all – everybody’s lookin’ and smilin’ and laughin’ I haven’t even gotten a chance to look in the mirror yet!" he said. "I do look like a rookie – maybe the Packers will be inclined to keep me for several more years then."
Kuhn was on the hospital campus to have his trademark beard – and mustache – shaved closely with a straight edge razor to kick off a "Green and Gold Movember" initiative to raise awareness for prostate cancer.
"It’s been quite a long time. To trim the beard off with the lowest setting on the beard trimmer is one thing, but a fresh shave like this – I have to go back to high school, maybe college for a special occasion," he said.
Kuhn said he will let his facial hair run wild through November and update its progress with fans on social media, as will Urologic Oncologist Dr. Peter Langenstroer, who was also shaved. Kuhn said he’s working getting a few Packers teammates to participate in the movement also.
There are still a few days left before November – or "Movember" – but Kuhn and the staff at Froedtert wanted to set the stage for the campaign early.
"It’s a great way to really kick it off now and really draw that awareness that prostate cancer itself, needs awareness for the screenings as well," Kuhn said.
"I think it’s extremely important and I think this kickoff here is a great way to get the word out, first and foremost, but I think the dedication throughout the whole month and the dedication by myself and (Dr. Langenstroer) to grow our hair out and be consistent with it; and to continually suggest that other men around the state do the same. And the women with the fake mustaches, that’s a great way to do it, as well."
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.