A $51,000 shave

Boonie Lethbridge loses his whiskers and ALS Society gains

Jonathan Parsons jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca
Published on January 24, 2016

A crowd packed the Eastlink Events Centre in Clarenville this afternoon, not only  to see the Caribous take on the Flyers in their last game of the regular season, but to watch a much-anticipated event at centre ice.

The excitement had been building for weeks, ever since Boonie Lethbridge announced he would be shaving off his 40-year-old beard for a good  cause.

He decided to make his clean shave a fundraiser for the ALS Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, an organization dedicated to supporting those afflicted with Amyotrophic Lateral Scelerosis — also known as Lou Gherhig's Disease.

Boonie was joined at centre ice of the EEC by his wife, Jenny, and their two granddaughters for the barbershop session.

What had begun as a fundraising  goal of $5,000 had gained momentum on social media and around Clarenville during January.

When Cal Cole, who is a local volunteer with the ALS Society, came out with the cheque representing the total raised funds, it was for more than 10 times the initial mark — a $51,000 total.

With the crowd cheering Boonie — who's real name is Ralph — held up for the clippers and his trademark beard disappeared.

Afterwards he took the microphone to thank everyone who supported him.

"I want to thank all of you, everyone who supported me in this," he said, in what was probably his first-ever public speaking appearance.

Then, rubbing his hand over his now bare chin, he remarked, "My gosh, it's some cold."

To see the full video of the ceremony from centre ice, check out the utube video by Paul Tilley of Our Town Clarenville: https://youtu.be/YYWOXXaYFnc