It has become a yearly tradition that Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Brett Keisel grows a glorious beard during the season only to shave it off at the start of the offseason in order to raise money for charity. Today marked the third annual “Shear Da Beard” event which raises money for cancer programs at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC.
“Brett’s beard really has taken on a life of it’s own and Shear Da Beard has become a great annual event to support cancer programs and research at Children’s Hospital,” said Christopher Gessner, president, Children’s Hospital. “We’re extremely grateful to Brett, and more importantly to his wife Sarah for letting him grow the beard back each season.”
An impressive crowd showed up today at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille to watch Keisel’s beard disappear.
“This is what makes Pittsburgh special,” said Keisel. “They have grasped on to this idea and really made it what it is today. If the fans didn’t respond to it the way they did, I wouldn’t do it.”
Keisel had his beard shaven by his son, teammates and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
“Obviously I enjoy the beard, but knowing at the end of every season how much good it can do, how much help it can create for these kids is special,” said Keisel. “Going there and seeing them and how brave and strong they are fills me with pride knowing something good is coming from this mane of mine.”
It is moments like this that make sports so special. Keisel is one of the athletes that takes advantage of the rare platform he is given as a professional and he makes sure he gives back to all of those who look up to him.
It may seem silly to those outside of the area, but Keisel’s beard has become a sign of hope and inspiration for those in the Pittsburgh community.
For those who want to see what the clean shaven Keisel looks like, here is an image from the event courtesy of Steelers.com:
Bravo, Mr. Keisel. This is a great event and we hope to see it continue for many more years.