Another year, another beard for man supporting Ronald McDonald House fundraiser


    Chris Andries has grown a beard every year since 2014 to collect donations for the Beard Shaving Extavaganza, a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

    For the last four years. Chris Andries has made the commitment.

    "My parents hated it. My mom hates it still," he says with a laugh.

    The ill will comes is directed at the long beard on his face.

    "They like it when it's about a quarter-inch off my face and that's about it," he adds.

    There's absolutely no hatred for the reason behind the lack of a razor.

    Chris - and several other men - grow their beards all year long to raise money before cutting them off at the Beard Shaving Extravaganza at Otis Tailgators (3969 Center Point Road NE). It's the sixth year of the fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

    The money raised has helped completely change the facility, as CBS2/FOX28 first told you in December 2016 while profiling the family of Cale Henderson, who started the Shaving Extravaganza six years ago while he tried to raise money for RHM. The Hendersons had spent many nights there while his daughter was being treated at UI Stead Family Children's Hospital.

    Since then, the beard money has renovated entire areas and has been able to put beds, flat-screen TVs, and Blu-Ray players in every room at RMH.

    "It really changed for me when I went down and saw the Ronald McDonald House firsthand," Chris says. "It's a really special place - and it's just there to help people. For doing something like that - a small effort of not shaving my face for a year...it's just something I can get behind."

    "Chris has been paramount to this whole campaign," Cale says. "One year alone - he was responsible for close to $6,000 in donations - and what we did with that money was incredible."

    This year's event will see the fundraising eclipse the $100,000 mark since it first started.

    "It's touching. Especially when you see the guys that have been doing it forever," Cale says. "Growing a beard that you zip up in your coat, that you get toothpaste in, you can't eat in public. It's a pain."

    Chris continues to go through it to pay it forward - but he is learning some grooming tips along the way, like trimming the sides a couple times over the last few months.

    "One year, I didn't trim anything and I looked like a toilet brush," he says with a laugh. "It was bad."

    Cale and the Beard Shaving Extravaganza will keep collecting donations past the December 2 event. Interested donors can reach out through the event page on Facebook.

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