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Dick Beardsley twirls in dress to fulfill wife's fundraising promise

If you happened to be driving past Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast on Monday morning, you might have done a double-take.

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After reaching a fundraising goal for the Radiothon to End Child Abuse, Dick Beardsley spins in a dress on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, at the Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- If you happened to be driving past Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast on Monday morning, you might have done a double-take.

Dick Beardsley, decked out in a sparkly blue gown, twirled through the snow-covered yard in front of about a dozen attendees, including Bemidji Mayor Jorge Prince and other community leaders.

Believe it or not, though, spinning around in a bedazzled dress in near sub-zero temperatures isn’t a normal part of Dick’s morning routine. His wife, Jill Beardsley, and co-owner of the Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast, had made a particular promise while participating in the Radiothon to End Child Abuse in Bemidji earlier this month.

While live on the air during the event, Jill said if she collected $1,000 in donations that day, she would have her husband “dress as Cinderella and spin in the snow.”

This was news to Dick, who was listening to his wife on the radio while driving back to Bemidji from an ice fishing trip.

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“I had my radio on and I heard Jill on there. She shared her story of growing up . . . I was driving and crying,” Dick said. “All of a sudden I hear, ‘If I raise $1,000, my husband Dick is going to dance around in a Cinderella dress.’”

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Making good on his wife Jill Beardsley’s promise, Dick Beardsley donned a bedazzled dress on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, after reaching a fundraising goal for the Radiothon to End Child Abuse, at the Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

Bemidji's Radiothon to End Child Abuse, now in its 33rd year, is a one-day radiothon that aims to raise awareness and funds to help end child abuse. The event is a partnership between radio stations KB101 FM, KZY-FM 95.5 and Z99-FM, as well as a handful of local child abuse prevention organizations.

A few days before the Radiothon, United Way of Bemidji Area held its annual Celebrity Server Night at Giovanni’s Pizza to fundraise for the event. Jill joined four other guest servers in hopes of collecting donations in the form of tips.

“I was abused as a child, so that made me want to be a server to raise money,” Jill said.

She ended up winning the server championship, and online tips for Jill continued to roll in after the event. Then, she spoke on the air during the Radiothon on Dec. 2, sharing her experience with abuse.

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Making good on his wife Jill Beardsley’s promise, Dick Beardsley twirls in a dress on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, after reaching a fundraising goal for the Radiothon to End Child Abuse, at the Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

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Attendees laugh while Dick Beardsley spins in a dress on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, after reaching a fundraising goal for the Radiothon to End Child Abuse, at the Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

“What I shared on the radio was just a lot of what my childhood was. There was a lot of abuse,” Jill said. “I do want to help prevent child abuse, and this was something that was super important to me.”

After telling her story, Jill filled listeners in on the plan she was going to carry out if she reached her donation goal.

“I said that if I raised over $1,000 that day, I would have my husband dress as Cinderella and spin in the snow,” Jill said. “Right away we got about $1,400 called in.”

Easily hitting the $1,000 milestone that day, it was time for Jill to make good on her promise. Lucky for her, Dick didn’t have any opposition.

“Well, what the heck,” Dick said, proudly showing off the dress. “She raised $1,000, so I’m more than happy to do it.”

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After Jill blew her initial goal out of the water, donations kept pouring in. As of Dec. 20, she’s helped raise $4,700.

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Bemidji Mayor Jorge Prince, left, poses for a photo with Dick Bearsley on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, at the Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

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Kevin Jackson of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting, left, and Denae Alamano of the United Way of Bemidji Area, have their photo taken with Dick Bearsley on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, at the Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

Kev Jackson, operations manager at Paul Bunyan Broadcasting, said the funds raised from Radiothon are dispersed amongst different programs in the area.

“The money goes to agencies and programs in the counties of Beltrami, Hubbard and Cass that hold parent classes to teach them to break the cycle of child abuse,” Jackson said. “Donations go to agencies that help kids in foster care or just anything that does child abuse prevention.”

Online donations for Bemidji's Radiothon to End Child Abuse will be accepted through the end of the month. Those who would like to donate can visit radiothon.info or www.unitedwaybemidji.org , or text PREVENT to 269-89 .

Related Topics: UNITED WAY OF BEMIDJI AREA
Madelyn Haasken is the multimedia editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is a 2020 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Mass Communication, with minors in writing and design. In her free time, she likes watching hockey, doing crossword puzzles and being outside.
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