Indy Eleven soccer player is raising cancer awareness and giving thanks

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 27, 2014)-- This Thanksgiving and every day, pro-soccer player AJ Corrado is thankful for his dad's health. This month the Indy Eleven player is giving back to raise awareness and money in the fight against cancer.

He is honoring his dad, Sam Corrado, who is a cancer survivor. AJ's dad, his number one fan, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006. He watched as his dad underwent chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

“It was rough, it was rough for our whole family," said AJ Corrado.

Fans might notice something different about AJ who wears number 12 on the field. He is sporting a beard for "No Shave November." He's dedicated the beard and his fundraising efforts to his dad. This is his first time growing a beard.

No Shave November is one way the American Cancer Society (ACS) is raising awareness. Participants are encouraged to let their facial hair grow and embrace their hair because so many cancer patients lose their hair during their battle with the disease.

For the past month AJ has been letting his beard grow as he raises money for the ACS. He turned to social media to ask for donations from family and friends.

“So I’m extremely thankful and again that’s kind of why I’m trying to give back to give other people that opportunity," said AJ Corrado.

His dad, Sam, said he doesn't miss a single game. He is now healthy and cancer free. The disease left him with a new found appreciation for life. He also joked that he likes his son's beard.

“Him being a pro-athlete and using that platform to speak about cancer and to actually do something about it, I was very humbled, very proud of him," said Sam Corrado.

No Shave November has raised more than $1 million in the fight against cancer and there's still time to give. AJ has a donation page set up through the American Cancer Society.