Deanne Stein, News 9
EDMOND, Oklahoma -- Infertility is an issue many couples face. In Edmond, one couple has decided to go the adoption route after years of trying to conceive.
While they expected the financial burden to be great, they didn't expect their friends' support to grow in the way that it has, in the form of facial hair.
Jake Jones and friends started the Beard for the Blanchards, a fundraiser and awareness campaign to help offset the adoption fees for Will and Amy Blanchard.
"I see the same thing the same kind of sadness and need and want to love a child," said Jones. "I saw it in my wife and it breaks my heart to see that, so I just want to help them out."
So, he's taking the advice a friend gave him years ago when he and his wife we're trying to have a child. After years of trying to conceive a child and several miscarriages, Jones said they decided to seek fertility treatments as well as something a little less conventional.
"If you have a beard, you are a father," Jones said his friend told him.
So, that's right, Jones said he grew a beard.
"I grew a beard in January, by May, my wife was pregnant and the following February I had a little girl that was healthy and the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," he said.
Now, he's doing it again, but this time, for his friends. Through the Beard for the Blanchards campaign, Jones and several other men are growing beards and collecting money from sponsors.
"We're selling our beards essentially," he said.
Even Will has taken Jake's advice to grow the beard.
"My understanding is you grow a beard, you become a father, so that's how I'm going to do it," Will said. "It's not as majestic and flowing as my friend Jake's, but I'm trying."
And their efforts, great and small, are not going unnoticed.
"I love it, every time I see their beards, I know it's for me, I know it's for us," said Amy.
Aside from the money raised, the group also hopes to create awareness and support to other couples who also struggle to have a child of their own. The message: that they are not alone.
"We know we're not the only ones who struggle with infertility," said Will. "Sometimes you think you're struggling alone, but something like this happens and you see so many guys raise their hands and you find out that they've been hurting with you and praying for you. You realize you were never alone."
The guys plan to continue to grow and sponsor their beards until March 16, when they will shave them off. All money raised will go to the Blanchards. Anything left over will be donated to the Touch of Life Foundation.