BURRILLVILLE – A fund set up to help the parents of a one-year-old child fighting Leukemia had already raised more than $88,000 to help with medical expenses, and with a little support and a good razor, Burrillville resident Ryan Lagace is on track to help them raise $12,000 more.
Lagace has said he will shave off his now 12-inch-long beard completely if the family reaches $100,000.
The fundraiser was launched on GoFundMe in January after Ashley and Troy Peck learned their daughter Aspen had been diagnosed with a rare subtype of Acute Myeloid Leukemia known as RAM. Troy was raised in Burrillville and graduated from Burrillville High School before eventually moving to Newport, and is a longtime friend of Lagace’s.
Lagace, who is 37 and lives in Mapleville, notes that young Aspen has already undergone a bone marrow transplant, and her battle against the rare disease and road to recovery is expected to be long. The effort to find a donor was aided locally by “Be the Match” events, including one at Bravo Brewing Company.
When Lagace first announced the the effort on social media on Wednesday, June 30, the family’s GoFundMe page had donations totaling $88,000. As of Wednesday, July 28 the total has risen to $93,040, with donations coming in regularly.
Once the $100,000 goal is hit, Lagace said the ceremonial shaving will take place at Kimatian’s Barber Shop in Pascoag.
He’s appealing to Troy’s former community of Burrillville and those in neighboring towns to help out.
“Even though my beard has been part of my identity for 20 years it’s just hair. It’ll grow back,” Lagace noted. “But if we can raise money for this sweet innocent little girl then that is all worth it.”