Registration for Beards for Hope 2016 is underway. This unique fundraiser is held in conjunction with Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November. Participants can form a team or sign up as an individual. Then on Nov. 1, they'll groom, grow, fundraise, and post photos on social media using #beardsforhope. Registration is free!
Beards for Hope was founded by Andy Spence, whose mother Laurie passed away in 2010 after a long battle with lung cancer. The fundraiser was originally conceived as a beard-growing contest in the winter season.
Andy shared that although Laurie was a busy mother of three children and an active volunteer, "she always managed to be home when we got off the bus. I don’t remember my mother ever missing a sporting event (not easy with three kids, all of whom played sports)."
"Nothing, however, captured her time, energy and imagination as the holiday season," he continued. "Christmas was her shining moment. The day Thanksgiving decorations went down the Christmas decorations when up — and then continued to go up for another week. She didn’t stop until our house rivaled a department store. The set-up included two Christmas trees. The tree in the basement was dedicated to our family and needed a 10 foot radius to accommodate all the gifts. The tree on the first floor was for friends and neighbors. Once Christmas finally arrived we would open our gifts and then head to the kitchen for a traditional holiday feast that included recipes she ate as a child."
"I knew our first Christmas without my mother would be hard. Really hard. As December approached, my family decided it would be better to embrace our loss rather than stagger through the holiday season. We decided to start a fundraiser titled Beards for Hope."
That first year, over 30 growers and a large group of supporters raised over $7,000. Combined with the next 3 years, Andy’s fundraiser raised $44,000 for lung cancer research. Free to Breathe joined forces with Andy in 2014, and since that time, we have collectively raised over $104,000.
Register for 2016 Beards for Hope at freetobreathe.org/beardsforhope. If you can't grow a beard, recruit a friend or family member. Regardless of your facial hair status, be sure to donate!