ACT News

Clean-cut approach to fundraiser reveals beard's true worth

It's said men only shave their beards for the joy of growing them again.

However, judging by the way Theodore Merkoureas' face lit up when he spoke about the $7252 he raised for children living with cancer, that would be untrue.

Theodore Merkoureas, 24, has raised $7250 for Camp Quality by shaving off his long hair and beard.
Theodore Merkoureas, 24, has raised $7250 for Camp Quality by shaving off his long hair and beard. Photo: Melissa Adams

Just weeks ago, his now bald and beardless head was covered with locks and whiskers he had been growing for up to five years.

However, the 24-year-old had also grown extremely passionate about volunteering with charity Camp Quality.

After a successful fundraising effort, Theodore Merkoureas is adjusting to his new look.
After a successful fundraising effort, Theodore Merkoureas is adjusting to his new look. Photo: Melissa Adams

It supports cancer sufferers aged up to 13, and runs a range of programs. 

The Hawker man began attending the camps two years ago after being inspired by his cousin, who had cancer.

"I've always liked giving to charity, the feeling of giving something back. But once I did one camp, that was it – I was hooked," he said.

"I'm smiling even now. When you see what the organisation does for these families firsthand, it is what really makes you want to do things like this."

Theodore Merkoureas, in his Camp Quality volunteer uniform, shows his "before" look.
Theodore Merkoureas, in his Camp Quality volunteer uniform, shows his "before" look. Photo: Supplied

In April last year, he became determined to help more.

Mr Merkoureas set himself the goal of raising $7000 by New Year's Eve.

It's time to shave the hair after raising funds for Camp Quality.
It's time to shave the hair after raising funds for Camp Quality. Photo: Supplied

He chose that night because he'd planned to hold a vikings-themed New Year's Eve party and his hairstyle often attracted the nickname Ragnar, a character from the Vikings TV show.

So he set up his target on the everydayhero​ fundraising page and planned to shave his long hair regardless of the amount raised. By "the unlikely chance" that he met his goal, his beloved beard would also go.

By December 31, he had raised $4000 and his hair was gone.

"But, of course – because I wanted to keep my beard – we made $7000 [by January 4]," he said.

"So we shaved the beard."

He was overwhelmed when he received $3000 in the last two days, largely thanks to a generous anonymous donation of $2000, as well profit kindly handed over from his cousin's business.

Mr Merkoureas was grateful for the incredible support.

He said sending children to camp cost a lot more than most people would expect.

"Having like 40 or 50 kids at a venue, accommodation fees would be about $10,000, and then there is all the things we run," he said.

"It's not a cheap thing to do and that's why fundraisers are so good for charities like this."

When asked about his new look, he was surprisingly content.

"I actually don't mind it, I'm going to honour the fundraiser and keep it short for a while.

"But I'm going to grow a bit of my beard back . . . I feel a bit naked."

To donate, visit https://fundraising-canberra.everydayhero.com/au/theomerkoureas/ before January 28