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Man letting public decide whether he should shave his 5-year-old beard for charity

Posted at 11:30 AM, Dec 08, 2022

DOSWELL, Va. (WTVR) — A Virginia man is putting five years of effort on the line this month in order to raise money for Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

"Save It or Shave It" is a fundraiser Brian Thompson is putting on with the RVA Beard League. People can vote on what will happen to Thompson's facial hair.

"It'll be five years old on December 16," said Thompson, the same day that voting will end. "It's kind of crazy wild. I've never had a beard before. And this, literally, I grew it to do it. It's still growing, though. So, I figured, might as well before it gets caught and something happens to it, then let's go ahead and try this year."

Thompson said his family is always looking for ways to give back to the community. He wanted to do something that his nine-year-old son could have fun with as well.

"He doesn't even remember me without a beard at this point," said Thompson. "Do something with him, something for children, and, kind of, help him, you know, having him help me with it and do it with me."

Thompson said he and his son have gone to beard competitions together, with his son competing in the creative division. Thompson has competed and won in the 12-inch and up categories and, more recently, the 18-24 inch category.

"I don't know when my terminal length is going to hit," said Thompson, referring to the maximum length each person can grow. "I've trimmed off 18 inches in the past four years to keep it growing. So, if I'd known that I didn't need to, well, it could be that much longer."

As for where the idea came from to growing something and potentially being paid to get rid of it, Thompson points to his childhood.

"When I was about six years old, I grew a rat tail and it annoyed everybody so much they finally paid me to get rid of it," said Thompson. "My brother pointed out the other day, he said, 'You know you have a way of pissing people off just enough to the final where they'll pay you to stop it.' And I said, 'Yeah, that's kind of the gift.'"

Weekly vote totals for the two sides are posted in a Facebook group, but Thompson is kept in the dark as to who is winning, although, he does have his preferred outcome.

This story was originally reported by Cameron Thompson on