I remember the first time I ever cried at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, don’t feel bad for me, I was one of the lucky ones, I was there for work.
It was about five years ago and I was working for a large architecture firm as a Project Manager in its healthcare studio. I was helping CHW design their Delafield Clinic. It was a unique project for me on many fronts, but most importantly, it was my introduction to this amazing organization. Our meetings were held at night so the doctors could have input into the design of their space without sacrificing clinic hours. During that design process, I realized the investment by this group of people in their craft.
Before one of our meetings, I met one of the CHW project leaders in Café West. It was an unusually nice spring day; nice enough that everyone wanted to be outside — including the patients. I sat down at a table and started preparing when I looked outside to the healing garden and noticed a little boy or girl. I couldn’t tell which because this person had lost all of their hair. They were in a hospital gown and had several wires connected to a rolling pole. They were enjoying the warm spring day with their father and both of them had huge smiles. I immediately started crying. I had a 18-month-old at home, and when I imagined myself in his situation, it was too much for me to handle. I’m not sure I gained composure by the time the CHW project leader arrived — but this person didn’t say a word. I am sure they noticed what was happening outside and could probably deduce why I was crying and my face was red. That would not be the last time I cried at Children’s. There have been many times where my goal was to get to my car as fast as possible without breaking down in front of a CHW staff member. I’m not sure why I worry so much about it, these people are truly angels on earth.
So you’re probably asking, “what does this super sad story have to do with a “Grow-a-thon”? I love to give back to the community, and I love to fundraise! I’ve spent the last three years trying to find a way to give back to CHW and their patients. Every idea I’ve come up with is already in place. I eventually came to the realization that I needed to take things into my own hands, or hairs. I have found there are two keys to raising money
Make it some sort of spectacle or event
Do something challenging and/or extremely difficult
Eureka! A challenging spectacle!
I hate when my hair is long enough to touch my ears. I don’t mind having a beard, but I have to shave my neck at least every other day. So... I’ll shave my head and face and go one year without a haircut or shave.
First, I discussed it with my wife… she hates beards! She agreed it was a good idea, especially knowing it is for a good cause that I care deeply about.
I ran it by my business partners. Having a partner and market sector leader that looks like a caveman was not something they signed up for — but they were on board.
The final step was to get approval from CHW. If they said “no” then it would be no big deal. But, if they said yes, I would be on the hook! So I thought about it for a couple of days and came to one final realization about this venture. There are kids in the hospital that will suffer for the rest of their lives. What is one year of suffering over a few long hairs? I asked CHW staff and before I knew it everything was approved.
So this is where we begin. At the 2018 Miracle Marathon (May 24-25) several employees of GROTH Design Group and I will start the Grow-a-thon. We will shave our heads and not get a haircut or shave our beards until the 2019 Miracle Marathon. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.