Derek Danyleyko's beard

Going grizzly for a cause

Some people shave their hair to raise money for cancer research. That wasn’t an option for Derek Danyleyko, who admits he isn’t about to grow a thick head of hair anytime soon.

Some people shave their hair to raise money for cancer research. That wasn’t an option for Derek Danyleyko, who admits he isn’t about to grow a thick head of hair anytime soon.

However, he can grow a beard.

The 40-year-old Sooke resident, who is normally clean-shaven, decided to let his facial hair blossom for more than six months while he collects pledges before shaving it off in August.

So far, he has raised $6,000 and plans to donate the money directly to a family that has a child with cancer.

“I don’t want to give it to a society where it won’t all go to the family,” he said.

He hasn’t yet identified a family to donate the money to, but he said that won’t be a problem when the time comes.

Inspired by his mother, who died of stomach cancer in 1998, Danyleyko said he always wanted to do something for the cause.

Most of the money has come from friends and coworkers at the Thrifty Foods warehouse in Central Saanich. They tease him about his beard, calling him Yukon Cornelius, a character from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The facial hair doesn’t get in the way of his work, but eating is a pain, and he thinks the summer heat will bother him.

“It was a mistake to do it now, I should have done it in the winter,” he said.

The shave-off won’t be a big event, he said. He’s planning to go clean before he attends an August wedding in Calgary.

“My wife wants me clean-shaven,” he said. “It’s been six months.”