They’re calling it “Beards for the Beard” and former Old Forge School Board Director John Guida is calling the whole thing overwhelming.
“Beards for the Beard,” or the fundraising concept of a no shave November, isn’t new in the district. Last year, funds were raised to aid elementary teacher Robert Giacometti in his battle with a stage-three astrocytoma tumor. This year, Giacometti has returned to work and is part of the effort to raise funds for Guida, who is battling stage-four pancreatic cancer.
“When I heard about it I was taken aback,” Guida said. “There’s a lot of good people who have come out to show support and help me. There are no words. There are no words to describe how I feel. Overwhelmed, thankful.”
Participants in the fundriaser don’t pay to take part, instead containers have been placed in rooms throughout the school to see which class can raise the most money. The containers will be collected and counted next week.
Guida explained that, like Giacometti did last year, he will use the funds to help with medical prescriptions, travel costs and doctor co-pays.
And, like Giacometti, he has a positive outlook, despite the battle he is facing.
“You know what you’re up against and you’re going to go all out and do whatever you can to fight it,” he said. “At times I’m still delusional. I have these dreams that with God’s help we can beat this.”
Diagnosed in April 2013 after having stomach problems and a large weight loss, Guida refused to stop fighting.
“Doctors thought it was something else,” he said. “But then they sent me for a CT scan and now we know how to fight it. There is no cure but there are ways to fight it and we’re on the right path to put it in remission.”
Even Guida is sporting a beard to show his support of the support he’s getting.
“I’m so thankful and grateful to these young men for helping me,” he said. “I’m overwhelmed by their support.”