Tickets for the 2016 Beard Season Ball – BOAT EDITION are available here.
We Australians love to soak up our sun and it’s therefore no surprise we have the highest melanoma rate in the world. Beard Season Founder Jimmy Niggles discovered that the hard way when he lost Wes, a lifelong friend, to skin cancer six years ago. Wes was only 26 at the time. As both a tribute to Wes and a campaign to raise awareness, Niggles began growing a beard and pledging others to do the same. His efforts achieved a whole new tier of traction after recently being recognized by Sir Richard Branson himself.
The idea for Beard Season actually arose during Wes’ wake. There Jimmy and some friends noticed a group of farmers in the corner sporting incredible “wizard” beards. Jimmy admired the sense of commitment that it took to grow such impressive facial hair, and likened it to the same type of commitment it takes to get routinely checked for melanoma.
The idea inspired Jimmy to grow his beard as a conversation starter. Basically, if you were to ask Jimmy and his friends about their new look you would find out he was not in fact starting a ZZ Top cover band, but raising awareness in memoriam of Wes. Soon after that you’d probably be at the doctor’s office getting screened for skin cancer and maybe even growing a beard yourself. Six years and countless follicles later, Beard Season has evolved to become a powerful, pioneering force in cancer awareness, so much so that their next goal is to grow the “million dollar beard”.
Don’t think of Beard Season as a bunch of dudes sporting facial hair, talking about cancer and then calling it a day because that’s far short of what the organization does. For the past two seasons Jimmy and his team have been tirelessly advocating screenings through both social media outlets and public appearances at events like the Australian Open of Surfing. At the Open there was a team of professionals on hand performing free skin cancer screenings. Among the 116 people checked, 5 cases of Stage 2 melanomas were discovered as well as 29 cases of early stage (aka pre-cancerous) melanomas. Those numbers are simply staggering. Needless to say, one should never underestimate the power of the beard, or more specifically the power of using a symbolic foundation to launch an aggressive and effective awareness campaign that’s literally saving lives.
Beard Season is only getting stronger and becoming a global phenomenon thanks to social media. Back on the home front Niggles has registered the organization as a non-profit and set his sites on the aforementioned “million dollar beard”, with intentions to cut his beard and sell it to the highest bidder with every dollar going into the charity.
Which brings us back to Richard Branson. Jimmy’s quest for the million dollar beard gained a slew of attention after Branson became the latest #BeardSeasonAmbassador and got checked for melanoma at Jimmy’s request. Branson is far from the only important person or publication to take notice of Jimmy’s efforts. Beard Season landed a cover story at The Cut Throat Journal and became a mainstay topic over at the Virgin website itself.
It’s safe to say that like a great beard, Beard Season is growing rapidly and inspiring others across the world to join the movement. Hopefully you too, dear reader, can take some inspiration from Jimmy Niggle. Whether that means growing your own beard or simply getting screened is your choice to make, and there really is no wrong way to participate. That said, we suggest going the distance and sporting the beard during Beard Season. After all, the only thing cooler than a great look is a great look for a greater cause.
So if you’d like to be involved, Jimmy has just released tickets for the 2016 Beard Season Ball. Not only will this be the most perfectly timed event in the history of epic knees-ups (FRIDAY NIGHT), it’s a Nautical theme, on a mutha-funkin boat, all for a good cause! Hit the link below for details.