Sponsor me in Extra Life this year and I'll either shave off my beard or shave it into "Friendly Mutton Chops."
So, I have this beard.
I've never really had facial hair for most of my life.
I had a goatee for a little while when my son was born, but other than that I am not very good at growing a beard.
It takes forever.
It itches when it is coming in.
It comes in patchy.
If you have a beard, that might not be your experience, but it is mine.
That changed two years ago after I got really sick with an infection. During that time, I just didn't feel like shaving. It took long enough getting ready in the morning and I was too tired at night that I just said "screw it" and I let it grow out.
By the time I got better, it was pretty much a passable (for me) beard and I decided to keep it when I went out into public. It was then that I got a lot of compliments saying that I looked different and that people liked it. The phrase I heard most often was "You look good with a beard, you should keep it."
And then I shaved it off for passport photos.
And then the comments were, "you look better with a beard" and "why would you shave it?"
So I grew it back and it took two years to get to the point that it is now.
I like having a beard.
I've gotten used to it.
I forget what it's like to not have one.
And here I am considering cutting it all off again and having everyone tell me to grow it back.
And here's why.
This will be my fifth year participating in an 24 Hour #ExtraLife Board Game Marathon weekend benefiting Riley Hospital for Children, which is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, that I co-host and run with my wife.
We started the game marathon eight months after our youngest daughter, who I call Rogue when I talk about her online, had a life saving cranial reconstruction procedure at Riley. She was just over one year old at the time and hadn't even started crawling yet.
My wife and I and Rogue spent time together at Riley while she recovered. The watch sign that she was able to go home was when the swelling from her surgery had gone down enough that she could finally open her eyes. It would take a week for that to happen and even then she could only just barely peer out at us.
Riley saved our daughter's life and took very good care of us while she recovered, but we also got to see how the hospital touched the lives of the other families that resided on the transplant wing where Rogue was sent to recover. While what we were going through was indeed traumatic, it paled in comparison to families that might be making arrangements to stay with a sick or injured child awaiting, receiving, or recovering from a transplant or treatment that might leave them on that wing for months at a time.
On our trip home, Adrienne and I decided to host our first game marathon to give back, in some small way, to the hospital that had extended and repaired the life of our family by healing our baby girl and to offer some measure of comfort to the families we had shared time and space with.
We hosted our first Extra Life game marathon in October of that year with handful of players from our monthly community board game night and members from our church. That first marathon raised just over $2000.
Since then, we have hosted three more board game marathon weekends, each bigger and raising more money for Riley Hospital than the last. Over the past four years, we have been blessed to have raised $23, 718 for the hospital, with $10,107 of that through last year's marathon alone.
This year, 2016, is our fifth annual board game marathon for Riley and I am the Extra Life team captain of a great group of sponsored players who are all working to make a great event and raise money for a great cause.
So, back to the beard.
This year, our fifth, which I see as a time of reflection about where we were and how far we have come, I have set my Extra Life fundraising goal at $1000. I want to celebrate the fact that the little girl, who couldn't crawl before she went to Riley for her procedure, has started Kindergarten and is thriving!
So, if I reach my goal of $1000 before October 21st, the first day of The St Peter's 24 Hour Extra Life Board Game Marathon benefiting Riley Hospital for Children, I will shave off my beard and remain clean shaven for at least one month. And... if I double my goal, I will instead style my beard into "Friendly Mutton Chops" (basically mutton chops with a mustache) and wear that for a month.
I would really appreciate your donations of even just a few dollars in helping me to reach my goal and this one way to show how much I appreciate it.
Thank you for reading this far and considering my request.
You can check out the schedule and details of the 5th annual St Peter's 24 Hour Extra Life Board Game Marathon by visiting http://www.extra-life.org/team/stpetersgamenight