For the past two years as a Concordia Stingers football player, Jérome Bédard-Guillemette has gone through a vital ritual before every game and practice.
He has to tie his below-shoulder-length hair in a tight bun and put his long beard in braids before hitting the field.
“It takes four elastics to make a perfect bun and two elastics for the beard before every practice and game,” Bédard-Guillemette told Global News as he demonstrated in the Stingers locker room.
The reason he has let his hair get so long has nothing to do with style, but to raise money for a cause close to him — the fight against cancer.
“The mother of my best friend got diagnosed with breast cancer and it really shook me. It got me thinking about my mother, my sister, my girlfriend,” he said. “I love all the women around me and I wouldn’t want anyone to lose someone because of breast cancer.”
“That’s why I let my hair grow for four years.”
As a result, Bédard-Guillemette has not had a haircut or a beard trim since he was a CEGEP student.
“It’s a love/hate relationship. I think the look is amazing, but it’s a nightmare to take care of,” said Bedard-Guillemette.
The plan is to shave it all off for charity Saturday afternoon at “Pink in the Rink,” an annual fundraiser put on by the Concordia Stingers Women’s hockey team.
“During the men’s game we’re going to sell cookies, cupcakes, anything we can raise money for. After that, we give that to the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation,” said Stingers’ player Stephanie Lalancette.
If Bédard-Guillemette raises more than his goal of $1,500 dollars, his beard will go too.
He hopes to inspire others to give back, however small the gesture.
“I think we all have our little thing to do, and for me it was to grow my hair,” he told Global News.
The fundraiser takes place Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Concordia Athletic Complex at the Loyola Campus.