Chris Andrews puts $80K bounty on his beard — for a good cause
Shanneyganock helping family raise funds for much-needed wheelchair accessible van
It's a mystery to many where Chris Andrews's beard begins and where Chris Andrews the man ends.
"I've had one since I was a kid," said the Shanneyganock frontman.
"Back then we just wanted to be Ryan's Fancy or Sons of Erin … the b'ys had big beards. Then it became real. A part of me."
He's only shaved it once in the past two decades, and that was for dental surgery about three years ago.
"It was pretty funny," he said. "I sort of disappeared and there's only one picture exists of it. So it's gonna be like something brand new for sure."
Now he's putting his facial hair on the line for a good cause.
11-year-old Jess Stamp-Hillier was born with Rett syndrome and needs a wheelchair to get around.
Rett syndrome is a rare non-inherited neurodevelopment disorder that almost exclusively occurs in girls and affects nearly every aspect of their life — including Jess's ability to speak and walk.
"Rett syndrome has taken a lot of things from her," her dad Justin Hillier said.
"She can't do all of the things that her younger sister can."
"She goes where we go"
But the Stamp-Hillier family haven't let that slow down their life and what they do. Right now they are able to help Jess get around in her wheelchair and their family minivan.
"As she gets bigger the wheelchairs get bigger, but the vans don't get bigger," said Hillier.
"So if we don't find a safe reliable ride for her, I mean, she's basically unable to go on any more outings with us and that's not the way that we want to live life. She goes where we go."
The problem is one of the specialized vans cost, $80,000.
Back in June, the Stamp-Hillier family started a fundraiser, Wheels For Jess. The family from Flatrock was then put in contact with Chris Andrews.
"We were pretty surprised, pretty shocked and pretty excited," Jess's mom Juanita Stamp-Hillier said.
"Chris and the boys from Shanneyganock did a concert for Jess and that was a very exciting night. They want to help out some more."
On Monday night, Andrews and filmmaker Roger Maunder stopped by the family's home in Flatrock to film a video for a GoFundMe campaign to try to raise the money needed.
That's when Andrews revealed he would shave his beard live on Facebook as a sort of thank you.
"I'm willing to get rid of the old beauty here," Andrews said stroking his beard.
"I'm very fond of it but for Jess to get a new new van I'd be willing to shave this beard off."
The family has been moved by the gesture and hope they can hit the goal to take some of the strain off their lives, and backs.
"Jess is 80 pounds and Jess's wheelchair is 40 pounds. So right now we physically lift her in and out of our van. So a wheelchair accessible van would help us get her directly in with the lift and all and no issues for anyone's back."
If the fundraiser is successful, Andrews says the beard is coming off at a special Shanneyganock show on Old Christmas Day.