Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steeler Shears His Beard Hair-Raising Charity Event Gives Back to Children's Hospital

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steeler Shears His Beard Hair-Raising Charity Event Gives Back to Children's Hospital

Article excerpt

If Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel ever gets cut, we hope it isn't tonight.

Tonight, Mr. Keisel will be sitting in a chair at Jergel's Rhythm Grille in Warrendale while teammates, coaches and local celebrities take to his face with sharp instruments - and sheer delight.

It's "Shear Da Beard," a charity event that has become an annual thing for Steelers Nation. Just like the playoffs used to be.

During the season, the hard-hitting Mr. Keisel sports the facial hair of a Viking. But he plays with the heart of a Steeler. And the heart of a Steeler doesn't slow with the end of the football season. The black-and-gold is widely known for its charity work in our community.

"There's a lot that we do, and then there's a lot that other people do that we plug into," said Michele Rosenthal, community relations manager for the Steelers. "Brett alone does stuff for Cystic Fybrosis, Children's Hospital, the Homeless Children's Education Fund. It's a long list of organizations."

"Shear Da Beard" benefits the oncology program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Mr. Keisel was inspired to conduct the charity trimming four years ago, after the son of teammate Aaron Smith was diagnosed with cancer (which is now, thankfully, in remission).

"It's raised over $100,000," Ms. Rosenthal said. "Which is fantastic. For a man cutting his beard off, it's amazing."

There's more to this than just the spectacle of a Steeler getting shaved. (Though usually that's enough in itself.) Those attending also will be able to purchase and bid on T-shirts and memorabilia, including autographed jerseys.

Naturally, like all things involving the Steelers, "Shear Da Beard" attracts a healthy share of media attention. Two years ago, Post-Gazette sportswriter Bill Brink covered the "news" event, quoting celebrities as they snipped and quipped. …

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