The razors came out to shave beards Monday in Austintown.

The beards were grown for Movemeber, a campaign spearheaded by Mercy Health to spark a conversation about prostate cancer awareness.

Several people in the Austintown School district participated in the event and had their beards shaved during the schools' lunch periods.

More than $1,300 was presented to Mercy Health Foundation in connection with the shave-off, with more than $700 of that coming from donations collected from employees of Austintown Schools and more than $500 from Austintown Township police officers.

The Austintown Elementary school also presented Mercy Health Foundation and Man Up Mahoning Valley with a $500 donation.

Annual prostate cancer screenings are recommended for most men beginning at age 40, younger if there is a history of prostate cancer in the family. 

Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley, the philanthropic arm of Mercy Health, supports the free prostate cancer screenings that Man Up Mahoning Valley hosts during several annual community events, including the African American Male Wellness Walk, Mercy Health Day, Panerathon and Fuel the Fight car show.

This year, 252 men received free PSA blood draws. Of those, 65 had never had a PSA screening before; 25 had an elevated PSA and were referred for follow up.

“That’s why these screenings are so vitally important,” says Paul Homick, president of Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley. “They make routine prostate cancer screenings easily accessible to men who may not see their doctors on a regular basis or who may not have a doctor. This is important because men with prostate cancer who are diagnosed at an early stage and get into treatment have much better outcomes than those diagnosed in advanced stages of disease."

For information on how to support free prostate cancer screenings or other programs that seek to improve the health of Mahoning Valley residents, call Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley at 330-729-1180.

For more information about Man Up Mahoning Valley and prostate cancer facts, call 330-480-3405 or visit: www.manupmv.com.