Earlier this year, Wolverhampton model Ricki Hall set a goal to raise awareness for mesothelioma. His plan: to shave off the beard that he has been curating over the last six years.
By using his fame and influence as a model, Ricki hoped to inform people about this deadly disease caused by asbestos. Much of his motivation came from the fact that mesothelioma claimed the life of his father in October 2015. By shaving off his beard, which has become a staple of his iconic look, Ricki wanted to do his part to raise both awareness and money for research.
The actual shave-off event took place on July 23. Ricki was kind enough to do a follow-up interview with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance shortly thereafter.
What were some moments from the event that were especially memorable?
The whole day was special and was really overwhelmed with the turn out, but I remember my daughter, Aaliyah, being really upset at one point and started to cry. Then that set me off and was just a massive emotional mess for the rest of the shave.
How did people react to your new look?
Haha it was kind of 50/50. People know me for my beard, so when they saw the massive moustache it was kind of mixed feelings.
Obviously it doesn’t matter what people think of the look – it’s about the awareness and money raised – but I dig my new look.
Were you able to achieve your goals for the event?
We still have a little way to go to achieve the goal but I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have donated and spread the word. Massive love to you guys.
(Note: To help Ricki reach his goal, and to read more about his family’s struggle with mesothelioma, see his JustGiving page.)
What do you think folks who attended the event took away from the experience?
I think that you can do anything to make awareness and raise money. Be it shaving your beard/head, running a marathon, or doing something completely out the box. The possibilities are endless.
While your beard grows back over the next several years, what other mesothelioma awareness activities are you planning? Do you think you’ll shave your beard off again?
I hope to be doing something different every year for the charity. Each one a little crazier than the last. I’ve got my thinking cap on of what to do for next year. So watch this space.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance wishes Ricki and his supporters all the best in this worthy effort to raise awareness around a terrible disease. We will be sure to follow up on future events that Ricki leads in the future.