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Thursday, October 23, 2014
The mustache diaries — chronicling a great cause in Long Beach
Mustaches for Kids to march in Irish Day parade
By James Bogdan
Courtesy James Bogdan
Mustaches for Kids participant James Bogdan is ready to sport a new ’stache for a great cause.

Mustaches For Kids is a national, volunteer-run organization. Each year, participants, or “growers,” raise money by growing mustaches. They shave their faces — except for the ’stache — a minimum of one time per week and solicit donations from friends, family, co-workers, and people in the community.

The Long Island Chapter of Mustaches For Kids, based out of Long Beach, is starting its sixth growing season this year. Over the past five years, our chapter has raised more than $195,000 for the Pediatric Cancer Care Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The season began with a “shave day” on Sept. 28 at Sutton Place, where participants had their pictures taken and received pins that read, “Ask me about my mustache” to aid in the fundraising effort.

With every shave day comes a new beginning. As I shave away the fuzz on my upper lip for the last time before the official start to the 2012 growing season, I wonder what the new season will bring. This day is always bitter sweet. It reunites me with familiar fuzzy faces, introduces me to a new group of “growers” who are ready to do good, but this day is also a sobering reminder that pediatric cancer still exists, and families are forced to make tough decisions between the financiers that support their families and the money necessary to support their child’s treatment. This is my motivation. This is what keeps me growing year after year. This is what drives me to ensure that this season is our most successful year ever.

The first week of the growing season is always an interesting one. As I sport my “Ask me about my mustache” button to solicit donations, I wonder if it should read, “Where is my mustache?” Like anything else in life, the first few days are the hardest. It has been almost a week since I last did some manscaping on my upper lip and, finally, the charitable hairs are starting to emerge.

This Saturday will be the big coming out party for Mustaches for Kids Long Island. Our new ’staches will hit the streets for the first time since shave day.

Our philosophy has always been there is power in numbers. So what better place to come together than a parade! The group will meet on Washington Boulevard at 10:30 a.m. to gather with friends, family and anyone interested in helping kids. We will march through the streets of Long Beach in the Irish Day parade to generate some buzz about our fuzz. We will also have a Mustaches for Kids tent set up on the northwest corner of Tennessee Avenue, where we will sell green Mustaches for Kids gear.

Purchasing gear is a great way to show your support for our volunteers and participants, and, of course, the kids at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. You can also donate online at www.m4kli.com. All donations are tax deductible.

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