A trainee accountant from Donemana has thrown down the gauntlet to all the friends and family who have been complaining about his increasingly unruly beard since he decommissioned his razor last December, with the challenge: pay me and I’ll shave it off.
Jordan Austin, aged 20, has promised to finally shed close to a year’s worth of whiskers if he receives £1,000 in donations.
The former Foyle College pupil, currently undertaking an accountancy training contract, says there is a serious message behind the lighthearted shave-off.
“Suicide has always been something I’ve wanted to raise money for, it’s such a serious problem in our society, but still a lot of people hate talking about it and try to avoid it if at all possible,” he explained.
“So, it’s been at the back of my mind for a while, especially since April 2014 when I lost my friend from the Ulster Project, Danny Higgins,” he added.
It was media coverage of a recent intervention on Craigavon Bridge that finally spurred Jordan into action.
“Things get in the way and I’ve done nothing until now, when last week I heard about the girl who stopped a taxi on the way home from work to grab a guy who was going to commit suicide, I got a real wake up call. If it wasn’t for that girl then that could have been another life wasted,” he said.
After hearing about the incident, Jordan, had his eureka moment.
“Last week when I was in bed trying to sleep I came up with the Shave for Suicide idea, I googled it and had virtually no results so decided to make it happen. I set up a Twitter feed, Facebook account, email address and prepared a crowdfunding page.
“I even asked my friend Oliver McCarter (on placement as a Junior Product Designer) to design a logo for me and so on Thursday, October 15, I was good to go,” he said.
So shortly - pending £1,000 in donations - he’ll take time out from cutting clients’ tax exposure to cutting the barbarossa (right).
It won’t be before time as long-suffering friends and family say it’s beginning to resemble a busted mattress.
“The idea is I’m going to shave off the beloved beard I’ve had since December last year. Plenty of people joke about how I need a shave so I decided to ask them to put their money where their mouth is. I’ll shave no problem, in exchange for donations towards suicide prevention and awareness. My aim is £1000 but if I get any donations at all I’ll be pleased, already I’ve had people contact me looking to shave their beard off as well for the cause. I’m only trying to do my bit and encourage everyone else to do theirs.”
To donate go to https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/shaveforsuicide or get in touch via Twitter - @shaveforsuicide firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook - Shave for suicide.
Suicide is a tragic death which affects many people and communities.
“Life is the most precious of gifts. We all share a responsibility for ensuring that it is valued and protected. At times, circumstances may lead some people to end their own life. Whilst no strategy can be expected completely to remove such tragic thoughts and feelings, there is much that can be done to ensure that we reduce the likelihood of suicide and to ensure support is available for those at their most vulnerable.” (Paul Goggins, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2006).
The Western Trust Health Improvement Department supports a number of suicide prevention initiatives in the Western area.
If you or someone you know are in crisis or despair, Lifeline counsellors are available 24/7 via the helpline to provide you with instant support. Contact Lifeline on 0808 808 800.