Myself and some team mates from the Nor-West Jets in the Hawkesbury area of Sydney decided to grow beards during our preseason training.. Some started as early as November and as late as early January but I myself decided to start growing my beard on Christmas day.. We decided amongst the half dozen of us that we would grow the beards for the upcoming Footy season as just a bit of fun.. Our club president, Dominic Shipley, asked myself and the fellow guys if we would be interested to see if a charity would like to jump on board our beard growing. Obviously it was a no brainer as any money raised for any charity is a very worthwhile thing.. One of our club sponsors, Adrian Raftery, is involved with Bears of Hope so that one fateful night at the Sydney Swans vs GWS Giants, along with the help of Geana Smith, the idea of Beards of Hope was born.

Through the months it really has been remarkable to see how much such a small idea has grown into what it is now.. We have 62 men growing beards all across Australia and have now raised over $22,000. Its great to see all the support that everyone has received and how much this will go to supporting families during a very tough period in their life. It also isn't just the money that is amazing but also the awareness that is being raised. Before we joined up with Bears of Hope, I hadn't heard of the work they do in supporting families. I also wasn't aware of just how common these little angels are returning to the playgrounds in Heaven. It isn't a talked about topic in today's society and it really was an eye opener to myself. I admire the strength and courage of all families affected by infant loss and reading some of the stories on Bears of Hope have really moved me.

I am constantly asked about what's the reason behind growing the beard and I take the time out of my work to explain to people what Bears of Hope do, the statistics behind infant loss and the remarkable effort that Beards of Hope has reached in their inaugural year. I'm so privileged and honoured to be apart of Beards of Hope and look forward to the many years to come.

"May our beards grow longer and awareness stronger"

The Nor-West Jets raised 10,326.27 - 2014 Beards Of Hope