Most charities have fundraisers that we all recognize. The Girl Scouts sell their Thin Mint cookies, and Goodwill and the Salvation Army collect clothes to sell at their stores. Every charity has a walk, $1000/plate dinners, silent and not so silent auctions, etc. But what about those crazy fundraisers that stand out? What about those that make history? There are some individuals who are so passionate about a cause, they do something crazy and sometimes even risk their lives to help others. Here are 10 unforgettable charity stunts. Some are individual stunts and others are performed by groups. Several of these were one time stunts and some other stunts are performed regularly and have become the signature fundraiser of the charity they are associated with. Either way, all of these stunts sound completely crazy, but they are all in the name of something good.
10. Tredalo Walk Across The Irish Sea
Not only is this stunt crazy, it’s dangerous! Chris Todd’s stunt was walking from Wales to Ireland. To take care of the minor inconvenience of the Irish Sea, Todd built a giant hamster wheel that would take him across, called The Tredalo. What was wrong with just taking a boat? This stunt went swimmingly (no pun intended) at first, but then the stunt went horribly awry when the rudders of The Treadalo encountered larger waves than it was designed for, and sadly, the journey became unsafe. Todd ended up taking a safety boat back to Wales, but the Treadalo broke when it was being towed. The money from this stunt was to benefit the Wiltshire Blind Association and another organization, ironically called Lifeboats. Todd plans to raise enough money to try a second time.
9. Male Students Wear Heels For Violence Against Women
Walk A Mile in Her Shoes started as a fundraising stunt in 2001, but then became a full-fledged non-profit organization, which has raised millions of dollars to combat rape, sexual assault and gender-based violence against women. It was also implemented to increase or raise awareness of these issues. During these fundraising walks, men walk one mile in women’s high heels, so they literally walk a mile in women’s shoes. These events have taken place in the US, as well as internationally. The funds raised benefit a number of local organizations, depending on the locale of each walk, from shelters to rape crisis centers and helplines.
8. 100 Marathons In 100 Days For Cancer
What’s more exhausting than a marathon? Doing 100 marathons in 100 days for Cancer. (I’m tired and sore just thinking about this endeavor.) In 2012, Matthew Loddy, a British Businessman who was 46 at the time, did exactly this. Loddy made a promise to his friend, Phil Latham, who later died from stomach cancer. This stunt benefitted two great UK charities, the Teenage Cancer Trust and St. Francis Hospital in Berkhampsted, where Latham was treated before he passed away. Loddy kept his promise and continues to raise funds today through the Framework Foundation.
7. Hands Across America
Hands Across America entailed a chain of people holding hands, and took place on May 25th, 1986, for approximately fifteen minutes. Over 6.5 million people across 16 states participated to raise funds for homeless and hungry people. Everyone donated $10 to be part of the chain. Even President Reagan took part in this stunt. The chain stretched over 4,152 miles (the chain was broken in some sections) and started in New York City, New York and ended in Long Beach, California. Over $34 million was raised for charity from this incredible stunt.
6. Calendar Girls or Rather, Ladies
Remember the 2003 film, Calendar Girls starring Helen Mirren? It was based on a true story. In 1999, in Yorkshire, England, a group of woman past the prime age of typical calendar girls (they were between 45-65 years old) posed stark naked, with their lady bits covered up (of course) to benefit cancer. The calendar was the brainchild of Angela Baker, who was inspired by the death of her husband from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2004, the ladies shot a second calendar, but all the women decided in 2013, that their days of posing naked were behind them, probably because they were, well, sick of shooting their behinds.
5. Bear Dares
Bear Grylls of the hit Discovery Channel television show, Man Versus Wild, bared through a pretty shocking and creative charity stunt for The Prince’s Trust, which is an organization that helps employ and educate youths who are going through challenges. For this stunt, Bear ate a formal dinner, wearing a suit and tie – underneath a hot air balloon, 25,000 feet up in the air! In order to breathe, Grylls had to wear an oxygen mask. How does someone do that and eat at the same time? A new world record was set during this stunt, the highest open-air formal dinner party.
4. A Mile High Calendar
In October 2013, the hottest female flight attendants of Irish budget airline, Ryanair, took it all off for a charity calendar. Lining up at London’s Victoria train station, these women took off almost everything (they wore bikinis) for a wonderful cause. The money raised went to the Teenage Cancer Trust, which helps improve the lives of youths ages 13-24 with cancer, by building wards in NHS hospitals and having sick children treated by experts. While Ryanair isn’t known for being the best airline, it is definitely known for being one of the sexiest.
3. Do They Know It’s Christmas?
“Do They Know It’s Christmas” was a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. The single raised money for the two-year long famine that affected Ethiopia, from 1983-1985. Recorded in 1984, with many of the biggest names in music at the time, a video was also made of the song, as well as a documentary. The song became the biggest selling song on the UK Singles chart in history. Bono, Simon Le Bon, Boy George, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Kook & The Gang, Bananarama, as well as many others participated in the project. In 1989 and 2004, the song was remade, but less critically and commercially well received.
2. Charlize Theron Kisses A Girl and Likes It
In a spontaneous act of charity, Charlize Theron started auctioning off a kiss with her, all in the name of a good cause. Charlize was originally auctioning off a vacation package to her native country of South Africa, which included a safari, world cup tickets and a meeting with the great Nelson Mandela. The bidding stalled at $37,000 and Charlize became frustrated, so she offered up an 8 second kiss to the highest bidder. But, that still wasn’t enough, so she upped the kiss time to 20 seconds. A wealthy blonde lady ended up paying $140,000 for the sexy smooch, which was performed immediately on stage.
1. The Ice Bucket Challenge
How many people have completed the Ice Bucket Challenge for the ALS Association? A lot! Who did it? Many of these people were regular folks, but there has been a range of entertainment industry professionals from A List to the D List, who have completed the challenge. The Ice Bucket Challenge is simple; people who are nominated pour a bucket of ice water over their heads, film it and then nominate 3 other people to do the same. Those who complete the challenge are asked to donate $10 to ALS. But, those who choose to stay dry are asked to donate $100, if they can’t handle a little (okay, a lot of) cold water. Celebs who have taken on this challenge are Ben Affleck, Chris Pratt, Gwyneth Paltrow and so many others. Over $50 million has been raised so far.