In 2017 Mark Ward, one of the directors of MTM-CNM Family Connection Inc, told The Information Point about a rather ‘hairy’ fundraising campaign he was conducting for the 2017 MTM-CNM Family Conference. Inspired by his son Will’s strength and toughness following an 11 hour spinal surgery, Mark began growing out his beard and created a series of photos asking contributors to vote for him to ‘Shave’ or ‘Save’ it.
I guess it started back in October of 2014 when my son Will was in the ICU of Boston Children’s Hospital following spinal surgery. One of the consequences of Will’s myotubular myopathy is that his muscles are too weak to keep his bones straight, so over the years he had developed pretty severe scoliosis (curvature of the spine). He wore a back brace for years, which slowed the progression, but even with that his spine ended up with a 90 degree bend. So this surgery straightened things out quite a bit with the help of lots of titanium rods and screws.
And that’s a pretty darn thought provoking life event – to see your child going through something like that. The kid is tough. His muscles might be so weak that he relies on a ventilator to breathe and a wheelchair to get around, but he is tough. Anyway, somewhere during that week, something inside me said ‘grow it out’. Now that I look back, it really makes no sense. Perhaps it was the hospital induced sleep deprivation, perhaps it was just thinking about life differently overall. But whatever it was, I embarked upon the shaggy road I am today.
So, now I am putting my beard’s future to a a vote. One dollar = one vote and the more dollars you donate, the more votes you will get and you will be doing an awesome thing by helping to make the 2017 MTM-CNM Family Conference a success. But you will also have an opportunity to change my follicular destiny. Just comment ‘Shave’ or ‘Save’ when submitting your donation. (Votes have been coming in on both sides, but the majority have given their vote to my wife Erin as proxy – she’s voting to #savethebeard, at least for now).