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Man's 'rat tail' raising money for family with pregnancy complications

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 17:48:23-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While many know the “rat tail” as a questionable hairstyle well past its prime, one man has been growing one for nearly a year to help a friend in need.

Ryan Wagenmaker’s tail started off as somewhat of a joke around the office at DealerOn Marketing where he works.

“People started making bets about how long I’ll keep it and it just kinda caught on and I’ve kept it ever since, and that was Feb. 21 of last year when I started it,” Wagenmaker said.

Since then, it has evolved into something more. Wagenmaker learned his coworker David Hock and his wife Sam were going to have a baby born with multiple heart defects.

“it just kinda threw a wrench into our plans a bit. We had anticipated something different, that’s kinda just life,” the Hocks said. “And unfortunately, it’s put us in a kinda financial bind of sorts.”

The baby is due Feb. 21, 2020 — a year to the day from when Wagenmaker started growing his tail.

“It just seemed like a no-brainer to tie it all together,” he said. “We made an incentive that whoever donates the most gets the honor to cut it off.”

Shortly after, the donations started scurrying in.

“At the end of the day it’s supporting a great cause which is what is the most cool part about it,” Wagenmaker said.

After months of ridiculing him for the unique hair choice, Wagenmaker’s coworkers have learned to appreciate it.

“Shoutout to Ryan and his rat tail, I never thought I’d say that but thank you very much for donating it towards a cause that means something,” said Alysaa Adams, one of their coworkers.

A GoFundMe has been created to help the Hocks with medical expenses.