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Beards for Bearden


Breast Cancer affects many women- mothers, aunts, daughters, grandmothers and so on. However men can also be affected by this relentless disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control's website, one in every 100 breast cancer cases diagnosed in the US is a man. Those odds are small but never zero. Such is the case for Marshfield resident John Paul Bearden.

Bearden has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. Doctors informed him they could not perform surgery and estimated he has a life expectancy of 10 years, depending on how his body reacts to treatment. News like this can be devastating, but lucky Bearden does not have to face cancer alone. To help support Bearden, he has his family, community, and the Marshfield graduating class of 1994.

"When Steven Shelton was first diagnosed with leukemia. Unbeknownst to him and his wife Kimberly( MHS Alumni of 1994), I was going to cook fish, have people stop by, and make a donation," said Champ Herren.

Other alumni, including Keith Hulen, joined Herren's efforts.

"Before long, we had a bluegrass band playing and a car show wanting to happen in my front year. So I called Sam Rost and told him I need the fairgrounds next Saturday."

During that same event, Bearden was involved and explained how he contributed.

"I had a beard about halfway down my chest, and I was asked if I would shave it for Steven's benefit. I said 'yes'."

Since then, the MHS class of 1994 has hosted both large and small events to benefit members of their class.

Bearden then shares how his class heard about the news.

"Whenever I found out I had breast cancer, my wife told Hulen. He and I grew up from grade school on. Both his dad and mine passed away from cancer. So he took it upon himself to put this event together."

On Saturday, Dec. 10, the class held the "Beards for Bearden" event. The all-day event included a LIVE and silent auction, an attack (aka dodge) ball game, a cornhole tournament, and plenty of food. All proceeds are designated to assist with Bearden's medical expenses.

If you missed out on the event and still wish to help the Bearden family, there are still some options. The class of '94 opened up a bank account at Arvest that accepts donations. Additionally, you can send donations via Venmo to @kimberly-shelton-14 or mail them to John Paul Bearden at 260 E Burford, Marshfield, MO.

It is incredible to see a class stay together for 28 years and help their classmates in need.


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