Starting his journey in Chicago, Barrett Bear, Bear Necessities’ cuddly and comforting companion for children battling pediatric cancer, will be making the long and dangerous journey to the Middle East war zones with Illinois National Guard soldier Randy Dill. Randy is a volunteer for Bear Necessities and an active member of the Illinois National Guard. Randy and Barrett will be re-deployed in early February to Egypt, and then Barrett will travel to Iraq and finally Afghanistan to meet with hundreds of American soldiers serving abroad. The entire 15,000 mile journey will be documented through photos and video footage, and through the use of social media, will help generate awareness for the Bear Necessities cause: eliminating pediatric cancer and providing hope and support to those touched by it."
As part of a University of Chicago, Booth School of Business MBA class taught by the highly successful entrepreneurs Eric Lefkofsky (Groupon, Lightbank) and Brad Keywell (Groupon, Lightbank), classmates have been assigned to form teams and spend $5 per person on a toy. Over the course of two weeks, ending on February 11, teams have been charged with generating as much value with the toy as possible. One special team has chosen the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation as the beneficiary of its efforts. The team has purchased a Bear Necessities stuffed bear (known as 'Barrett'), and plans to track Barrett's travels around the world over the duration of the project.
Randy began volunteering in Chicago’s non-profit community in 2000 and founded ChicagoNonProfit.org in 2006. He met Kathleen Casey, the founder of Bear Necessities who was the keynote speaker for a Chicago Non-Profit event in 2007, and has been a supporter of the organization ever since.
Randy is serving on a Multinational Force and Observation (MFO) mission on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt (http://www.mfo.org/). The U.S. is one of twelve nations with troops on the peninsula monitoring the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel that was signed in 1979. He was deployed with the 2/123rd Illinois National Guard Field Artillery Battalion (approximately 440 soldiers) in May 2010 and is serving a one-year tour of duty. He is planning to return to Chicago in mid-to-late May 2011, and will continue his work with both ChicagoNonProfit.org and Bear Necessities upon his return.
The goal for the University of Chicago project is to drive as much traffic as possible to Barrett Bears’ Facebook fan page (click here) by February 11. In addition, Bear Necessities asks that everyone please visit www.bearnecessities.org to make a donation supporting their mission “of eliminating pediatric cancer and bringing joy and support to the children and families touched by it.”