WSVN — When a little South Florida boy was battling cancer, an unlikely group came to his rescue! A “Bearded Brotherhood” is changing lives and people’s perceptions. 7’s Craig Stevens has our special news report.
This band of bearded men may look menacing…
Daniel Perez, Bearded Villains: “There’s this stereotype that people think that bearded men are bad people.”
Daniel Perez is a member of the Bearded Villains. Sounds ominous right? But the group is actually a worldwide organization made up of men with beards. Their goal — doing good deeds for anyone who needs help.
Daniel Perez: “We took up on the name ‘Bearded Villains’ to show them that these bearded villains actually have a big heart.”
Ray Atesiano, Bearded Villains: “Something that hasn’t been seen by the world, a group of amateur guys doing charity work, with beards.”
The group contacted the Make a Wish Foundation to find a child in need. After seeing this picture of little Matthew Mirabel, they knew they wanted to help him and his family.
Daniel Perez: “A 3-year-old kid with leukemia? We just couldn’t understand how somebody at 3 years old had to deal with something like that.”
Matthew’s chemo was taking a toll on the little boy and his family.
Yuvisley Mirabel, Matthew’s father, through translator: “It was very scary, as if the world had crumbled. It was a very difficult moment for us.”
Anaide Estevez, Matthew’s mother, through translator: “It’s been difficult because it has been a lot of medications, a lot treatments, a lot of trials that he has had to overcome.”
But when the Bearded Villains offered to help, Matthew’s parents weren’t quite sure what to think.
Yuvisley Mirabel, through translator: “In the beginning, when we first saw them, we looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, from what planet are they from?'”
The Bearded Villains reached out to their brothers on social media, and the support started rolling in.
Daniel Perez: “There was a point at one time where we had a whole couch, a whole wall covered in letters from all over the world.”
The group raised more than $5,000 to send the family on a Disney cruise, but Matthew took a turn for the worse and could not go on the cruise. He needed a bone marrow transplant to survive, so the Bearded Villains went looking for a donor.
Daniel Perez: “And it ended up working.”
Bearded Villains did a world-wide push urging people to get tested as a potential bone marrow donor. A few months later, a match was found.
Daniel Perez: “It’s overwhelming emotions — at one point I cried.”
It was emotional for everyone, the family says this group of bearded men is not just their son’s hero, but also a part of their family.
Anaide Estevez, through translator: “They have played an important role in this story. They are like part of our family, and we are grateful that God has placed them in our path.”
Matthew is now 4 years old and can play with his brother.
Yuvisley Mirabel, through translator: “Now the energy that he didn’t have before, he has way too much. He is always running, very happy, we are very happy too, but at the same time we are also tired.”
The Bearded Villains vow to continue their good deeds with a ‘Bearded Brotherhood’ that only grows stronger!
Ray Atesiano: “It doesn’t matter what background you come from, doesn’t matter how you look, how you dress, if you have a beard, or just a mustache, you’re able to make that type of impact.”
Matthew is considered cancer-free but will stay under his doctor’s watch. The Bearded Villains are gearing up for their next big project. For more information or to find out how to become a member, there is a link below. In the Plex, Craig Stevens, 7News.
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