CLEVELAND — For 30 long days, police departments across Northeast Ohio have been pretty hairy with more than a dozen participating in “No Shave No Trim WishVember” – a campaign to help benefit A Special Wish Foundation’s Cleveland chapter.
The organization helps raise money to help grant wishes for local kids who are battling life-threatening disease and illnesses.
"When we heard about this, we thought it was a good opportunity to kind of do something fun for us, and at the same time help out a local family or two struggling with something,” said Lt. William Vajdich from the Solon Police Department.
Lt. Vajdich participated in No-Shave November even though he’s not physically able to grow a beard. Some guys can’t.
"What you see is what you get,” he said.
But it's so much more than just growing a beard.
During their efforts, more than $31,000 was raised throughout the last month among the 15 local police departments – and their efforts will quite literally change a child's life. 3News' Dave Chudowsky and Jay Crawford also jumped into the fundraising fun by taking on No-Shave November.
"They have gone through more in their lives than most adults will ever experience,” said Eileen Lane with A Special Wish in Cleveland. “Between the pokes and the prods and the surgeries, I think it's so important that if they wanna go see Cinderella's castle at Disney World we make it happen.”
Lane says it costs up to $10,000 to grant one wish per child.
"Right now I have a kiddo that's just hoping for a PS5 and Roblox gift cards. So, you have that end of the spectrum then you have another kid that wants to go to Hawaii or that wants a travel trailer to see the world. So, it's just a range of what these kiddos kind of think of and what they dream of."
Currently, A Special Wish is helping care for more than 300 children across Northeast Ohio between various hospitals.
"We've granted a little over 100 wishes in the eight years we've been around,” Lane said. "Our goal for next year is to grant about 40 wishes throughout the year."
Lane said the COVID-19 pandemic has really slowed their process down and doesn’t expect what they call the “big wish kids” to have their wishes granted until next year. In fact, their big wish kids from last year’s November fundraiser just received their gifts a few months ago.