Phoenix Brewing’s Brewer to Shave Head in Support of Childhood Cancer Research

Getting a haircut to raise money in support of a worthy charity didn’t seem like a huge sacrifice to Ryan Nichols. It seemed like an easy and fun way to give back. He didn’t expect his gesture to snowball into something much bigger. Since his first shave in 2017, he has shaved seven times and raised more than $21,000 in support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is powered by donors and volunteers like Nichols and his supporters dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research by taking donations to shave their hair. The organization has funded more than $314 million in research since 2005 when they were established as an independent charity.

Nichols has been “Shaving for a Cure” almost as long as he has been working at the Phoenix Brewing Company in Mansfield, Ohio. He started as a bartender in 2016 and was inspired by a guest to shave for the first time in 2017. He raised almost $2,000 that year. Eight years later he is now a brewer at the Phoenix and a Knight of the Bald table for St. Baldricks, and he is still shaving. His goal for 2024 — and his 8th shave — is to raise $5,000. The support he has received has come from family, friends, customers, and even other businesses.  

“Seeing everyone come together is just one of the reasons why I do this every year.  Having my children, has just strengthened my efforts to spread awareness about the organization.” he said.

“People follow his journey and efforts every year. You hear them (guests) talk about it in the taproom. There is a small army helping him to reach the goal. It’s not just his goal anymore, but it is theirs too. It’s just one of the reasons we love and appreciate the craft beer community.” added head brewer Duncan Macfarlane.

In the past, Nichols has had his nephew, friends, and even another employee join in the shave. He isn’t alone in his efforts this year either. Joining him for the first time is Charlie Watson, friend, Phoenix Founders Club member, and long-time supporter. The plan is for the pair to have their heads shaved in the beer garden on March 16. If the weather isn’t favorable, bald heads get cold pretty quickly, they will head into the production facility. The event will start around 6 p.m. with people enjoying beers outside with the participants, the actual shaving will commence shortly after. They expect to be finished just in time for the live music that night at the Phoenix at 7:30 pm. People are welcome to watch in person, or on the live feed on the Phoenix Facebook page.

“After not having a haircut for a while, being bald feels great, but it is nothing compared to the feeling of knowing we are helping children in need.” Nichols said.

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

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