Ren Pedersen from The Cure Starts Now foundation, has launched 'Beard It Up', a campaign to help raise funds for kids with terminal cancer. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Ren Pedersen from The Cure Starts Now foundation, has launched 'Beard It Up', a campaign to help raise funds for kids with terminal cancer. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Heartbreaking reason this dad is growing beard for charity

Growing out the stubble is all part of Ren Pedersen's mission for kids to live in a world without cancer.

The local businessman and former footy player is organising the Beard It Up campaign for The Cure Starts Now, and is urging all blokes in the region to grow their beards, whether it be some overgrown five o'clock shadow or a genuine chin curtain.

Last year the campaign raised more than $165,000 and hopes are high that double the amount will be raised this year.

"It's a fun way of providing a bit of good, and I think it's fun no matter how the beard looks," Mr Pedersen said.

"It's something that people can look back on and say: 'That was me in 2020, I did this for charity.'

Mr Pedersen, who lost his nine-year-old daughter Amy to brain cancer in 2009, has been an avid campaigner for The Cure Starts Now, which has raised more than $3 million towards cancer research.

 

Amy Pedersen
Amy Pedersen

 

Nine-year-old Amy Pedersen was her dad Ren's fishing buddy before she succumbed to brain cancer in 2009.
Nine-year-old Amy Pedersen was her dad Ren's fishing buddy before she succumbed to brain cancer in 2009.

 

"I wish I had grown a beard so that my daughter could run her hands through it," Mr Pedersen said.

"We just also want people to spend time with their kids.

"We're not going to stop working until we save the lives of these kids."

Mr Pedersen has received the support of former Cowboys and Origin player Brent Tate, who calls Mr Pedersen a close mate.

"I've been helping Ren out forever and a day and the work he does is amazing," Tate said.

"It's a cool, fun way of doing things and I think a lot of blokes around Townsville will be keen to have a go.

"I said to Ren that I might have to give it a miss with the chin I've got, but I dare say some of the Cowboys players will be able to give it a go.

"Some of them are dying their hair blonde, so this should be pretty easy for them."

Go to thecurestartsnow.salsalabs.org/beard-it-up to register yourself for the Beard It Up campaign.

Originally published as Heartbreaking reason this dad is growing beard for charity