Saturday, February 25, 2006

Clara Hughes' incredible example

Like many Canadians, I watched in awe Sunday morning as Clara Hughes won a Gold Medal at the Winter Olympics in the 5,000 metre longtrack speed skating. It was an amazing performance.

But then, she did something equally incredible, when she donated $10,000 of her own money to the charity Right to Play. She was following the example of American skater Joey Cheeks, who donated his gold medal bonus (US$40,000!) and challenged other to follow. So far, Cheeks' challenge has raised over $400,000. (Canada doesn't pay any bonuses to its gold medal winners!)

In the evening, she did an interview with the CBC's Brian Williams, where she talked about her race and her donation. Following the interview, I checked out the Right To Play website and watched as the donations started rolling in. (I added mine right away -- I was inspired by Clara's speech.)

When I tuned in, about $1,300 had been raised. But in short order, the total steadily rose, to about $17,000 now (about 20 minutes after the interview.)
(UPDATE -- As of 9:50 Sunday night, the total raised is over $31,000)

It was a graphic example of the power of television to inspire people to donate and the equally cool ability of the Internet to supply the means for people to make that donation instantly. It only takes a few seconds and the benefits are obvious.

Feel inspired yet? Take a look at Clara's challenge page and add your own donation, if you are.

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