POLO – It’s like a bad episode of “Jackass,” but for a very good cause.
A Polo man will be tased, pepper-sprayed, and doused with water from a fire hose Thursday evening, all to raise money and bring awareness to the auto-immune disorder that afflicts his 12-year-old son.
Nearly 7 million people nationwide are estimated to have alopecia areata.
It causes hair loss, especially distressing to youngsters like Nathaniel Yingling and the others who suffer from it, not only because of the symptoms but also from the lack of understanding about it.
“They get a lot of insensitive comments,” said his dad, Ken Yingling.
Yingling’s self-inflicted ordeal got its start several weeks ago when he started a fundraiser on social media.
He pledged to be soaked with a deluge of 3,000 gallons of water from a fire hose if $300 was raised for the cause, then upped the ante to be tased for $600, and finally to be pepper-sprayed for $900 in contributions.
“Since I’ve raised $1,000, I’m going to do all three,” Yingling said.
He’s planning to make good Thursday evening at the Polo Fire House at 206 S. Franklin Ave. The exact time still is being determined, but probably around 6 p.m., Yingling said.
He will be tased, then pepper-sprayed (worse than tasing – lasts longer, he said), then doused, which should wash some of the spray away.
Nathaniel will do the honors with the pepper spray, and another child with alopecia, a sixth-grader from Dixon, gets to man the hose, Yingling said
Jeff Woytovich, founder of the Children’s Alopecia Project, also is scheduled to be on hand, and the whole thing will be live-streamed on CAP’s Facebook page, Yingling said.
Proceeds will benefit CAP, which aims to provide support and build self-esteem for youngsters with the disorder, as well as heighten awareness of it.
Specifically, the money will be used to help send kids, free of charge, to camps the national organization puts on, including a 4-day event called Alopeciapalooza that brings together children from all across the country.
CAP's motto: "We change the emphasis from growing hair to growing confidence, building self-providin support and raising awareness."
Donations can be made, and more information can be found, at www.childrensalopeciaproject.org and on the nonprofit's Facebook page.