Paul Perez, 41, is a stay-at-home father of four children, with two teenagers and two toddlers.
He found the contest, presented by Men’s Journal magazine while scrolling through Facebook.
“Click[ed] on it and seen some of the people with the classic dad bod like me, you know. Put on a little bit of weight with the kids,” he said. “Then I seen some of them were kind of bigger, built, buff guys, so I’m like, ‘I want to go kind of represent for the old school dad bods.'”
The winner of the contest will receive $25,000 for their own families, but the contest also benefits the B+ Foundation, which provides financial help for the families of children with cancer and supports cancer research and advocacy.
The foundation provides financial help to families of kids with cancer across the country at over 200 hospitals. It also supports research at numerous hospitals, as well as being a co-founder for the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer.
With his “bod,” Perez has been steadily in second place in his group, but did pull into the lead for a few hours Saturday morning.
He said the prize money would help his family “enormously.” He doesn’t want anything extravagant and, in addition to bills, he would spend the rest on his family.
“Doing some repairs on the house … I have a kind of large dog – it’s a Cane Corso, it’s a type of mastiff – I would love to fence in the yard so she could run free and walk without the leash,” he said.
Of course, with a competition devoted to fatherhood, Perez is thinking about his kids.
“Honestly, my children have never been at Disney World. I would love to take them – even a couple days ’cause they’ve never been,” he said. “I went as a child a couple times and I remember how awesome it was for me.”
Perez is aware that even though he may not make the final cut, he’s proud to have raised money for children and their families affected by cancer. He has a friend who had a child pass away from pediatric cancer.
“To watch her go through that was heart-wrenching and, you know, hopefully they can figure out something where that’s not a problem for people, you know, or at least try to help them,” he said.
Voting is available once every day and every dollar donated to the foundation counts as a vote. Perez’s profile can be viewed online.
Voting for this round of the Legendary Dad Bod competition ends on Thursday.