Teammates, coaches, his son Jacob and even Steelers’ chairman Dan Rooney could not believe it. Coach Mike Tomlin cheered on. His own daughter asked, “Who is that man?” The man Grace was looking at, with the outmost disbelief, was her father; the D99 of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brett Kiesel, a mountain of a man with a mammoth unrestricted beard. The NFL great sponsors the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Wing as his favorite charity. The beard became a symbol of hope and a sign of affection for the cancer affected kids in the hospital. The charity is the annual event: “Shear Da Beard”.
To the blasting tune of the classic rock song “Renegade” (which is the anthem song of the Pittsburgh defense), surrounded by countless fans all gathered at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille, one by one the celebrities on hand took turns clipping the defensive end’s beard during this 3rd Annual “Shear Da Beard” event. To the cheering on fans, a clean-shaven Keisel took the stage to “Sharp Dressed Man,” unrecognizable to many, including his two-year old daughter Grace. He thanked the fans for their participation, coming out again in such droves to support such a great cause. The “Shear Da Beard” benefits the cancer programs at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC, with the money going towards the continued research the hospital does, as well as various programs.
“Brett’s beard really has taken on a life of its own, and Shear Da Beard has become a great annual event to support cancer programs and research at Children’s Hospital,” said Christopher Gessner, president, Children’s Hospital. “We’re extremely grateful to Brett, and more importantly to his wife Sarah for letting him grow the beard back each season.” Keisel recently had the chance to spend time with kids on the cancer and oncology floor, a visit that was uplifting and emotional at the same time. The idea to shave it the last three years to benefit Children’s Hospital’s cancer programs arose because of his friendship with former teammate Aaron Smith, whose son Elijah was treated for leukemia at the hospital. Smith was on hand at the event with Elijah, both of them taking their turn to cut off a hunk of the beard.
Kiesel had plenty of help, as one by one, Steelers’ players and coaches including Mike Tomlin, Dick LeBeau, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Cameron Heyward and Charlie Batch stepped onto the stage of Jergel’s Rhythm Grille to snip a slice of Keisel’s humongous whiskers. Pittsburgh’s best-known beard is gone. What is left behind is a feeling of love and affection, the unforgettable memory of the event, a clean shaved Brett Kiesel and a lot of cash to support the cause.
Here is to the “Shear Da Beard” D99 Pittsburgh Steelers Brett Kiesel and to all kids sporting a fake beard at the UPMC!!!
Until next time, Chrissy Carew
Founder and Head Coach, Insightful Player, LLC
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