After son Roman spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mike Dutkewych, with wife Christie Kocsis, is hoping to raise $1,000 for the center by shaving his beard.

After son Roman spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mike Dutkewych, with wife Christie Kocsis, is hoping to raise $1,000 for the center by shaving his beard.

Photo provided by Mike Dutkewych


Father hoping to raise $1,000 for Beaumont NICU by shaving beard

By: Mike Koury, Sarah Wojcik | Woodward Talk | Published June 13, 2018

FERNDALE/ROYAL OAK — After spending weeks with his newborn son in the neonatal intensive care unit at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, a Ferndale father is hoping to thank the department with a charitable gift.

Mike Dutkewych and his wife, Christie Kocsis, welcomed their son, Roman, into the world on Sept. 12, 2017, six weeks prior to his due date. Dutkewych said this was because Kocsis developed pre-eclampsia, which is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure that can cause organ damage and compromise a pregnancy.

“We really didn’t have a whole lot to prepare for the actuality of having a kid that much earlier than expected,” he said. “It was one of those things where she went into a routine checkup and the doctor said, ‘I don’t like some of these readings. We need to induce you today.’ And that was on Sept. 11. So within the next 24 hours, we suddenly have a kid.”

Because Roman was born premature, he spent two weeks in the NICU at Beaumont. It was an experience that Dutkewych said was “overwhelming,” but his and Kocsis’ experience with the staff helped keep the new parents at ease with their son’s situation.

“This is our first kid, and for it to be under intense circumstances, it took a lot to keep our cool heads, and the staff at the NICU was just so wonderful in the treatment of not only my son, but my wife and I too,” he said. “They took a lot of care to make sure we were OK with everything.”

Dutkewych called he and his wife lucky, as Roman only had to spend two weeks in the NICU. During that time, though, they saw many other families going through more difficult situations than they were with their son.

Knowing the work done in the NICU is “so terribly important,” Dutkewych came up with an idea to help raise money for the center: shaving the beard he has been growing since the birth of his son.

In a reverse “No-Shave November” situation, Dutkewych is hoping to raise at least $1,000 through a GoFundMe event called Beard for Babies to shave his beard.

He said he never meant to grow the beard as big as it has gotten, but the sudden nature of Roman’s birth caused some things to fall by the wayside. It wasn’t until after around four months into growing it that the idea of the fundraiser came to mind.

“We had such a great experience with (the NICU), but I’ve kind of been wanting to do something to give back in some way just because of how wonderful our experience was,” he said.

“I just feel that the work that they do in the NICU is so terribly important, and there’s a lot riding on it. These are very, very fragile lives. So even though we were relatively lucky, there were a lot of people that struggle with premature birth, and hopefully this little bit kind of helps alleviate some of that hardship for others.”

After standard payment processing fees, all proceeds raised from the fundraiser will go toward the NICU. The fundraiser was scheduled to launch on June 12, exactly nine months after Roman was born, and will last for one week.

Kim Tyle, senior associate director of the Children’s Miracle Network, is working with Dutkewych on the campaign to make sure that 100 percent of the funds raised will go toward the NICU.

“This is a different avenue and it’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I appreciate the candor, and I know he’s ready for the beard to come off.”

Tyle said the hospital has two different funding cycles for its programs throughout the year, and it wouldn’t know what the NICU would spend the funds on until it sends a spending request in the fall.

“It’s based on greatest need, whether that be equipment or programming or research,” she said. “Then, the funds will go toward that need.”

She said that she was touched by Dutkewych’s desire to give back.

“I think it’s incredible what he is doing and that he turned such an awful, scary situation into something so positive, and to just bring awareness to the Children’s Miracle Network and the great team we have at the Beaumont NICU,” Tyle said. “What he’s done to bring light to the wonderful nurses and professionals will help so much, and I’m excited to see a clean face soon.”

To donate to the cause, visit www.gofundme.com/beardforbabies.