What is Hawktober? By Matt Cotcher

Hawktober is a brand new organization that shows some attitude while raising brain tumor awareness: Hawktober was officially formed in 2011 and features supporters wearing Mohawks every October to bring more attention to brain tumors, those diagnosed with them, and survivors.

I like to say that supporters ‘Rock da’ Hawk’, because it conveys the spirit necessary to combat such an intimidating diagnosis. Patients, survivors, family and friends are showing off Hawks in support of the movement. In our first week, Hawktober has rallied support from coast to coast and even in Australia!

Hawktober was founded by a pair of guys that have taken survivorship to a whole new level – one they like to call ‘thrivership’. Certainly we understand the importance of raising awareness; after all, my diagnosis came as a complete surprise. It required such quick action that learning about the tumor, surgery or recovery wasn’t a viable option.

One of Hawktober’s goals is to give people what is often lacking in the drama of a life-altering diagnosis – more information and a better understanding of treatment options. With all the technology and information available, Hawktober will help folks that find themselves in similar situations be better prepared.


One of our co-founders, Eric Galvez, has been passionate about raising brain tumor awareness since his diagnosis in 2005. In an ironic twist, Eric went from being a physical therapist to having his coworkers provide him with therapy after undergoing surgery and radiation.

After rehab, Galvez started the Tumors Suck campaign and subsequently mAss Kickers Foundation. Then one of his friends, Al Chan, suggested the idea of rockin’ hawks to promote brain tumor awareness. I met Galvez online in 2007 while researching survivorship. Then, earlier this year, Galvez shared the Hawktober backstory with me and encouraged me to run with the idea. And just like that, Hawktober is rockin’ da Hawk around the globe!


At the time of this writing, “Hawktober 8th“, we’re only one week into this year’s effort. Between a rapidly growing Facebook page and an interactive website, it’s been a fun week of collecting photos of supporters Rockin’ da Hawk!

The organization is based in Austin, TX where Floyd’s 99 barbershops is supporting the effort. Each week in Hawktober, Floyd’s is featuring “Mohawk Monday” where supporters receive free Mohawks.

Beyond Austin, there are already supporters from Massachusetts to California clipping, shaving and styling their way to support family, friends and themselves in the spirit of Hawktober.


While I’m encouraged and overwhelmed by the amount of support Hawktober has received, I recognize we’re just getting started! Certainly, mohawks are attention-grabbers and we plan to use that to our advantage as we work to promote our goals and awareness.

Beyond fun pictures of supporters that Rock da’ Hawk, I’m always open to exploring partnerships with other related organizations. Awareness, whether it’s of brain tumors or breast cancer, is a responsibility that we all share, and Hawktober is always happy to help in the job.

In addition to promoting awareness and our patient support efforts, once we attain our 501(c)(3) status, we will target partners that research causes of brain tumors. I firmly believe that we need to direct our efforts towards finding causes in order to help find cures. With the variability (tumor type and location) of brain tumors, every ounce of support is needed and appreciated!

Matt Cotcher

Co-Founder, Hawktober

Thriving since 2007

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tumors-Suck/145877928814836