A fundraiser which started as a bet between four Griffith blokes came to a head during a close shave raising over $5000 into motor neurone disease.
A crowd of around 60 people gathered to the Griffith Leagues Club during the week to see Graham Carroll, a 57-year-old truck driver from Hanwood, take to the stage to have both his head and beard shaved for the fundraiser.
The fundraiser began a year ago when Griffith resident Garb Saunders told Mr Carroll and two other mates that his niece, also from Griffith, had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
Wanting to do something to raise money for research into the disease, the four mates agreed to hold a bet to each spend an entire year growing a beard which would be shaved off for charity at the end of 12 months.
After about three months Mr Carroll said he was the only one left still growing a beard, but by then news of the bet and support for the fundraiser had begun to spread around town.
“I got used to the beard after nine or ten months but my wife hated it,” Mr Carroll said.
“It was about 140 or 150 millimeters long, I grew one for three months before and shaved it off for a bet, but this one I wanted to go all the way.”
Having become rather attached to his new found facial hair and feeling a slight dose of stage fright, Mr Carroll admitted that he needed a few beverages before he was comfortable enough to get into the barber’s chair.
“It was a very funny night,” said Garb Saunders.
"I had to drag him out of the toilet as you would have to drag out a sheep, we relaxed ourselves out a bit before hand,” Mr Saunders said.
Griffith barber Tristan Sergi volunteered to do the shave for the fundraiser.
According to Mr Sergi, the supportive shouts of 60 odd people gathered in front of the stage as Mr Carroll was being shaved was indeed exciting.
This became especially apparent when a bearded stranger within the crowd, who was unknown to Mr Carroll and Mr Suanders, came forth and volunteered to be shaved as well.
“We had another guy I think his name was Glen who was from Wollongong and who had a big beard came forward,” Mr Saunders said.
“He asked us what we were doing I told him and he said ‘well you can take mine off as well’, I think he raised another $700.”
Mr Suanders said all up around $3600 was raised on for the fundraiser on the night of the shave alone.
“It was very pleasing the amount that was raised I didn't think we’d get that much, I wanted to do it as well but my wife said ‘you grow a beard for 12 months your going to get divorced’ so that cost me $200,” Mr Saunders said.
Although he was at first hesitant to part with his beard Mr Carroll said the shave has been nothing but relieving.
“It’s a godsend now that it’s gone, my son Blake has re owned me now, he thought that I looked like a homeless old man,” Mr Carroll said.
“I’m doing another charity run the Riverina Redneck Rally for kids with cancer, our van is called the Thirsty Gecko.
“My son Jack passed away at age 16 he had a motorcycle accident, he loved geckos.
“It’s called Thirsty because we don't mind having a drink,” Mr Carroll said.
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