The man with the million-dollar beard

Jimmy Niggles* is hoping someone out there will stump up a million dollars for his beard.

It's not that there's anything particularly special about it. It's nice enough, but nothing you wouldn't see on the face of any Sydney or Melbourne hipster these days. So all things considered, his asking price may initially seem a tad steep.

However, what makes 33-year-old Niggles' beard so special is that he wants to use the million bucks for a very worthwhile cause: to take his important message about Beard Season, and skin cancer, to the world.

How does growing a beard for winter help beat melanoma?

Starting the first day of winter, Beard Season is a global movement that turns beards into life saving conversation starters - challenging you, your friends and family to book a skin check for melanoma. Find out more at

Beard Season is the time when blokes around Australia are encouraged to get a hairy face to raise awareness about skin cancer and specifically, melanoma. Niggles came up with the idea when a mate, Wes Bonny, succumbed to the deadly disease at just 26 years of age.

"Wes went to the beach a lot and he was from the country, just like me," Niggles says. "We played AFL together. Since he passed away we have a Wes Bonny Memorial Game down in Canberra every year."

 

A photo posted by Beard Season (@beardseason) on


Beard Season was conceived at Wes' wake, held at a pub in country NSW. "There were a bunch of old farmers in the corner of the bar who had these amazing big farmer, wizard beards and we wondered why nobody our age were rocking beards anymore?" Niggles says. "This was six years ago, and nobody our age was growing a beard, so we threw the idea around and thought growing a beard takes a fair bit of commitment; the same kind of commitment you need to go and get a skin check."

And so Beard Season was born; a time to grow your beard for three months over winter, get a skin check and then use your beard to tell others to do the same.

This year's Season will be launched at Bronte Beach in Sydney on Saturday, June 4. Highlights will include a giant Connect Four, inflatable whale race, BBQ, and skin check tent. "It should be a great family day out and there'll be lots of beards to look at," Niggles says.

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He hopes this will be the Beard Season when somebody with deep pockets offers him one million dollars for his beard. He recently met with billionaire Richard Branson but failed to raise the subject. "I only had a minute with him and thought he probably gets hit up for money all the time, so I didn't ask him if he wanted to buy my beard. I suppose I probably should have mentioned it," he says. "Selling my beard is a long-term goal."

 

A photo posted by Beard Season (@beardseason) on


The new owner of Niggles' beard is guaranteed to get plenty of attention. Niggles reckons folks often hang out of passing cars and yell at him. "They call me Ned Kelly," he says. "People are always asking to touch it, particularly women. Perhaps it's natural instinct. I thought it would be hard growing a beard with work and meeting new people, but it's been the complete opposite. People love it. I highly recommend every gent gives it a go, especially when it can save lives." 

*Not his real name, but he doesn't want it to be all about him.