Endurance fundraising is known for providing inspirational stories, but few endurance fundraisers have achieved what Sam Fox did in honor of his mother back in 2011.
Fox — whose mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2004 — ran the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail in just 65 days to raise awareness and money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. His journey, which spanned more than 40 grueling miles each day, raised more than $170,000 for the charity and touched thousands.
But that challenge might have simply been a warm-up for what Fox has planned next.
Fox, who won the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum’s Cash, Sweat, and Tears award for his 2011 journey, is working on a new project that will take him through all 48 states next summer and aims to engage people around the country in challenges and events that he hopes will weave stronger connections between them and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Fox, who now works on the foundation’s staff as its outreach and engagement officer, is planning an endurance event called Tour de Fox that will see him climb 49 mountains, hike across the Grand Canyon, and ride his bike thousands of miles to raise money and awareness.
But this isn’t just a personal fundraising challenge. The event is also an effort to engage foundation supporters across the country in smaller-scale endurance fundraisers. For instance, Fox hopes to encourage local supporters to join him for each of the 49 mountain climbs and raise money through their networks.
The foundation will provide participants with an online platform to share their stories with friends and collect peer-to-peer donations. It will also catalogue and share their stories across its network.
“We really want to get as many people as possible involved physically and give them a platform to share their story,” he says. “Hopefully, we can build our base and steward those who have been loyal for many years.”
If that happens, Tour de Fox will help the foundation scale Fox’s commitment to its work.
In turn, it might inspire its supporters to become future winners of the Cash, Sweat and Tears award.
Does your charity have an exceptional volunteer that you would like to recognize? It’s not too late to nominate him or her for the 2014 Cash, Sweat and Tears award. The nomination deadline is Dec. 6.