EMU student with 17-inch beard has 'Save it or Shave it' campaign for heart disease

Ryan Huntington has a beard longer than the hair on most women's heads.

 It measures an impressive 17 inches. The Eastern Michigan graduate student has been growing it for the past two and a half years but is ready for a razor if it means helping a good cause.

"Everyday I shampoo and condition," Huntington said. "Or I can't leave the house without the worst case of beard-head, as you might call it." 

Huntington came up with the clever "Save It or Shave It campaign." All the money raised goes to the American Heart association. Last year he collected $1,100 and got to keep his wild whiskers.

"I've had some incidents with my family, my father had heart problems," he said. "My wife lost one grandparent the other had a stroke."

The last picture of Huntington with a bare face was taken back in 2008. As he prepares to possibly take on that look again, volunteers are preparing EMU's Convocation Center for Saturday's heart walk.

"I've had the beard for a long time," he said. "It's kind of a fixture. If I have to shave it, that clean shaven feeling will be weird."

Cat Smith from the American Heart Association said she appreciates Huntington's efforts.

"We love it, he's bringing awareness to him," Smith said. "And what he is trying to do but opens us up to a whole new generation of people who don't know that heart disease is. It the number one killer for men and women."

Staggering statistics no matter how you look at it, some might even say hair raising or in Huntington's case hair reducing but that of course is up to you.

Ryan is accepting donations until 9 a.m. Saturday morning. CLICK HERE.

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