Sponsored swims, runs and silences.

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I opened up the paper the other day to see someone had raised a load of money for a good cause by doing a sponsored marathon in an unusually physically extreme marathon.  I thought to myself why would he want to kill himself doing that?

I understand it’s a great cause and helping people is always a good thing to do but I still couldn’t understand why you would risk your life and health to do a sponsored run.  Then it hit me, why do we have to do extreme challenges to get people to put their hand in their pocket to give to a good cause?  If this same man went to all of the same people that donated and just ask them to donate but offered them no human challenge in return I can bet he would’t raise even 1/4 of the money, in fact most people wouldn’t be interested.  But then I thought that if this guy didn’t have to invest so much into this sponsored run then he would have even more money to donate to the charity rather than wasting it on equipment, training and competing.  I also though to myself what happens if he injurs himself or something?  That would only cost yet more money and put him in a position of need and the chances are highly likely or it wouldn’t be considered a worthy sponsored run.

So why do we not just freely give to charity yet we will gladly sponsor some extreme sport for charity? is it because we don’t think they can do it so our money is safe?  Is it because we are actually paying for the entertainment value of supporting someone competing in an extreme sport?  Is it because we are secretly saying “well done, I could never do that?”  or is it just that we are trying to support our fellow human do a good deed?

What drives our desire to give only with challenging extremes?   The answer to this I don’t know but perhaps we should throw some research money at it to find out?

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