Phoenix Brewing Brewer Embraces Being Bald for Fundraiser

Ryan Nichols, a brewer at the Phoenix Brewing Company in Mansfield, Ohio, has been shaving his head for charity almost as long as he has been working for the Phoenix. 2023 will be his 7th year in a row shaving his hair off to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Children’s Cancer research.

Now a brewer, he started in 2016 as a bartender. In 2017 he embraced the bald by shaving his head the first time for the charity, raising almost $2,000, after he was inspired by a customer to take on the challenge. Over the last 5 years he has raised over $13,000. For his 7th shave he hopes to raise a lofty $5,000.

“It has been great to see how many people willingly contribute to the cause and it has made it easier for me to spread the word about the organization,” Nichols said. “It is one of the reasons why I do this every year. Having my own child now also emboldens my efforts.”

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research. They have funded more than $314 million in research since 2005 when they were established as an independent charity. They are powered by volunteers and donors.

People have been following his journey and efforts. They eagerly watch the transition of Ryan’s shaved head into long curly brown locks through the year. His hair is often the topic of conversation in the taproom about whether or not he will cut it before the shave. He doesn’t cut it, in the hopes that it will reach the necessary eight inches for donation, but every year it has been just a little shy. This year he says may get it cut in between because the summers get pretty warm. The only downside is how cold his head feels after the fresh shave.

And he isn’t alone. Joining him is his efforts for the second year in a row, is his 13-year-old nephew, Wesley. Wesley decided to join in the efforts to raise money for other children after being inspired by his Uncle.

“I’m very proud of him for standing with me, and many others, to end childhood cancer,” Nichols said.   

Wesley’s mom, Brandie Iler added, “I am proud of my son for taking an interest in such a great cause and doing a second year in a row.”

The plan is for the pair to have their heads shaved over in the beer garden at 4 p.m., on Sunday, March 26. People are welcome to watch in person, or on the live feed on Facebook on the Phoenix page.

“Ryan has been such a great role model (to his nephew),” said Nichols’s mom, Tonya Swint. “They have a bet going to see who can raise the most donations.“

Nichols is extremely appreciative of all of the support over the last seven years from donations to the crowds that have watched in person when the shave was held at Legends in Shelby, virtually because of COVID, and again at the Phoenix. He hopes for great weather and a great crowd for their shave.

St. Baldrick’s is also the March charity for The Phoenix Brewing Company. In 2021 they converted to a non-tipped business model.  Paying employees a higher living wage ensuring a consistent paycheck for staff after inconsistencies in pay through COVID disruptions. Customers, occasionally still wish to leave cash behind, now leave it behind as a donation to a designated monthly charity.  

Anyone wishing to donate, or find more information, can visit through this link:

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