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11/21/2012 at 05:00 PM ET

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While he was battling cancer, Ethan Zohn couldn’t even fathom growing a thick, full beard. But these days, the former Survivor star and two-time cancer survivor is growing one heck of a mustache as part of the men’s cancer charity, Movember.

“As a full-time cancer crusher, I’m always looking for fun ways to get involved with the fight against cancer,” Zohn tells PEOPLE in the clip above. “What better than to have an excuse to let yourself get really hairy for cancer research?”

We recently caught up with Zohn at MiN New York — an apothecary in SoHo — where the star got a little facial hair TLC courtesy of men’s groomer Kumi Craig. Though she kept his mo intact, she cleaned up his growing beard and just trimmed his ‘stache, since as part of the Movember challenge, Zohn has to keep his mustache growing for the 30 days of November.

“Now that it’s getting a little more full and hairy, it’s exciting,” Zohn says. “My girlfriend [fellow Survivor star Jenna Morasca] likes it … although she jokes that I look like a bum walking around the street. But she’s getting used to it.”

Though Zohn wasn’t able to recruit any friends or family members to join him in the facial hair fun — “It didn’t go over so well for them,” he jokes — he’s just feeling happy to have his health, and to be helping other men in need.

“For me, to be able to even grow my facial hair is a pretty big deal,” he says proudly. Hear more from Zohn in the clip above, and to help the Movember movement, visit movember.com.

–Kate Hogan

GOT A GUY WITH A GREAT ‘STACHE? SHOW US A PHOTO!

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