Naked Ziplining to Running Barefoot: Strange Ways People Raise Money

PHOTO: ZipZone Naked 100 raised $15,000 for breast cancer research at ZipZone Adventure Park in Peachland.
Courtesy ZipZone

In cities across the globe, fundraisers are happening each day to raise money for everything from rhinos in Africa to cancer research. With clothing drives, sponsored walks and sport exhibitions, it seems many fundraisers have to go the extra mile to stand out in the crowd. While the streets seem jammed with people biking across the country for a cause, here are some unique fundraisers:

PHOTO: In this, June 23, 2012, photo provided by Sgt. 1st Class Marc Owens, 83-year-old Marjorie Bryan makes a tandem jump with retired Sgt. 1st Class Michael Elliott at the Allen County Airport in Lima, Ohio.
Courtesy Sgt. 1st Class Marc Owens/AP Photo
Two Great-Grandmothers Parachute for Military Moms

Marjorie Bryan, 83, and Marianna Sherman, 82, parachuted June 23 in Lima, Ohio to raise money for the local Blue Star Moms chapter and its Lima Veterans Food Pantry, The Lima News reported. Each woman did a tandem parachute jump where they jumped, with a guide, out of a plane more than 10,000 feet in the air.

"These Blue Star Mothers are so sweet, so special," Michael Elliott, the women's tandem parachute guide, told The Lima News. "We came up here two months ago, and they said they had this plan, and we said here's what you have to do. It was challenging, but they did it. They didn't quit."

Blue Star Mothers of America is an organization of women whose sons and daughters have served in the military. More than 200 people came out to watch Bryan and Sherman's parachute jump.

Sherman said the view during her jump was breathtaking. When asked if she would do it again, Sherman told The Lima News, "Not if I wasn't asked."

PHOTO: In this June 21, 2012 photo, Rae Heim takes a break from her cross-country barefoot run a few miles outside of Brooklyn, Iowa.
Mike Kilen/The Des Moines Register/AP Photo
Teenager Runs Across America…Barefoot

You would never believe that Rae Heim, 18, hated running. The Iowa teen is running across America to raise money for Soles4Souls, an organization that donates shoes to needy children, according to the Des Moines Register.

She's running barefoot.

Growing up, Heim hated running. But when she realized that people thought she couldn't run, she became determined to prove them wrong, the Des Moines Register reports. Her cross-country run, which began in Boston in April, started out as an adventure to see if she could do it. Now, she has raised $2,900 for Soles4Souls.

After breaking a toe last year, Heim learned that shoes are like deadweight to her. While she's running, she only wears shoes on gravel roads or where there is broken glass and other sharp objects.

Heim averages 20 miles a day and hopes to reach Huntington Beach, Calif., in October.

PHOTO: ZipZone Naked 100 raised $15,000 for breast cancer research at ZipZone Adventure Park in Peachland.
Courtesy ZipZone
Women Zip Line Naked for Breast Cancer

Most people can't imagine soaring above the trees on a zip line, much less doing it naked. But 84 women did the bare naked zipping on June 21 to raise money for breast cancer research.

The women participated in the second annual naked zip line event at the ZipZone Adventure Park in Peachland, British Columbia and raised $15,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, according to the Peachland News. Zip lining was free for each participant but they had to raise at least $100 for the foundation.

The park was closed to the public during the event and women had to be 18 and over to participate. Some chose to ride the 380 feet over Peachland's Deep Creek Gorge completely nude while others wore body paint or swimsuits. The oldest participant was 73-year-old Helen Saunders who has been a cancer survivor for 23 years. Although her family didn't want her to go naked, Saunders chose to zip line topless.

"I've been so fortunate," Saunders told the Peachland News. "I celebrate every year because it's another year I've lived that maybe I wouldn't have had."

PHOTO: Firefighter runs marathon in full gear to raise money.
Ironman
Firefighter Runs Marathon in Full Gear for 9/11

After a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride, firefighter Robert Verhelst shocked spectators at the Ironman Wisconsin triathlon on Sept. 11, 2011 when he ran the last leg of the race, a 26.2 mile marathon, in more than 50 pounds worth of firefighting gear, according to Wisconsin's Channel 3000.

After hearing the news of 9/11, Verhelst, of Madison, Wisc., jumped in his car and drove to New York City to help sort through the rubble from the attack. Exactly a decade after, Verhelst ran the Ironman Wisconsin in full gear to honor the 343 firefighters who died on 9/11 and to raise money for Code 3 for a Cure, a non-profit organization of firefighters who have battled cancer.

"When people see me walking in that gear, struggling with those 26 miles, in 65 pounds of gear, I want people to think of more than just, 'Oh, he must be tired,'" Verhelst told Wisconsin's Channel 3000. "Think about why I'm out there. Why I'm doing what I'm doing."

Verhelst is an 11-year veteran firefighter and works at the Madison Fire Department in Madison, Wisc. He plans to complete 27 triathlons this year which would break the Guinness Book of World Record for most triathlons completed in a year. Verhelst hopes to raise $650,000 for Code 3 for a Cure this year.

PHOTO: Group repels down a 12-story building to raise money for YMCA
ABC News
Group Repels Down 12 Story Building for YMCA

Sixty people, including many first-timers, repelled down the 12-story Times building in downtown Huntsville, Ala., on June 14 and 15 to raise money for the YMCA, according to the Huntsville Times. The two-day event, called Over the Edge, raised more than $70,000 for the Heart of the Valley YMCA. The money will be used for memberships and summer camps for families of deployed soldiers, subsidized child care for low income families and Go-Kids, a free program that fights childhood obesity.

While most of the brave souls chose t-shirts and pants for their 12-story repel, Richard Swanstrom donned a Spiderman costume and Dr. Harry Hobbs, of the Huntsville Police Department, chose camouflage. ABC affiliate WAAY-TV's reporter Shea Allen, a first time repeller, bravely paused midway to do a live report.

PHOTO: Two guys skateboard 47 miles in this Vimeo video.
Vimeo
Boys Skateboard 47 Miles to Raise Money

With backpacks full of energy bars and sports drinks, two college friends skateboarded from Atlantic City to Cape May, N.J., a 47-mile trek, to raise money for a missionary trip.

Jesse Lambert and his college buddy Nate Thompson set out on the May 31 adventure to raise money for Lambert's upcoming missionary trip to Mozambique where he plans to film and produce a video covering Iris Ministries' efforts to build a vocational school for the impoverished children, the Press of Atlantic City reports.

After graduating from Geneva College with a degree in secondary education, Lambert realized he didn't want to be a teacher. He devised a plan to travel the world and create films about missionary groups' work. The trip to Mozambique will be his second trip since graduation. The first was a trip to the Dominican Republic.

After 10 hours of skateboarding, the guys reached Cape May at 8 p.m. Although the trip started out a little shaky with Lambert forgetting his longboard, delaying them an hour, they reached their fundraising goal of $1,000.

"It's never too late to start over again," Lambert told the Press of Atlantic City.

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