Most of our fundraisers have a very personal reason for raising money for Alopecia UK. But from time to time we are lucky enough to have a fundraiser who stumbles across our work and chooses to support us. Joseph Jenkins is one such person........
Tell us about what you’re doing to raise money for Alopecia UK?
On New Year’s Eve 2014, I shaved my head to a grade 0.5 and wet-shaved my face. Ever since then, I have just let my hair and beard grow and will do so for the whole of 2015. The money raised so far for Alopecia UK has come from a few different places. I donate a monthly amount of £30 a month because this is the money I save by not visiting a barbers twice monthly, which was my normal routine. Friends and family have sponsored me on my JustGiving page, and I also ran a tombola at work to raise money. I am aiming to raise £1000 by the end of the year.
You’re more than half way through your challenge now -how are you finding it?
I’m really finding it quite easy! My partner is very supportive of my fundraising, and isn’t deterred by my ever-increasing hair presence. It’s quite easy to forget that I have a MASSIVE beard, and the hair has only just started to become hard to manage recently as it was only this past Sunday that I invested in some hair wax to stop it from curling upwards in random places!
What kind of comments have you had from family, friends and colleagues about your ‘hair growing’?
The most common comments are “The beard will get really itchy, and hot, in summer”, and “Will you dye your hair and beard white and be Santa Claus at Christmas?”, however, my friends and family have been mainly positive. A couple of people voiced their concern that I would find it hard to progress in my career as it would be harder for me to look smart and presentable, but in March I managed to seal myself a 9-month secondment promotion into a job that I really enjoy! When I told my new manager what I was doing, all he said was “It’s fine, as long as I can call you chewwy!” (Chewbacca from Star Wars)
Why did you choose to raise money for Alopecia UK?
At the end of 2014, I wanted to make one of my New Year’s resolutions to be more active in raising money for charity. After a lot of research, I came across Alopecia UK’s JustGiving page and saw a woman on there who had raised money and awareness for Alopecia UK by letting everything grow out for a month! I loved the idea of challenge, and decided to do it for a year. I have a friend who has Alopecia, but he hasn’t let it bother him. He has a happy life settled down with his girlfriend, but it made me think what my reaction would be if I had Alopecia and I think I would definitely need support and advice, which is why there is such a need to raise money for Alopecia UK.
Since the word has spread out to my friends and work colleagues, I have had numerous of people approach me and tell how inspired they are by what I’m doing, and that they have someone in their life who has Alopecia too.
We are so very grateful to Joseph for his fundraising (and hair-growing!) efforts! We'll be sure to update you with the final results of his challenge at the end of the year. You can check out his progress by visiting his Justgiving page here.
There is even a 'One Second Everyday' video documenting Joseph's hair growth from 1st January until 19 July. You can view it here.