Inspiring Fundraiser Originates on Geoff Notkin's “Club Space Rock” Forum
A discussion on Club Space Rock (CSR), an online forum and social network created by Geoff Notkin of TV's Meteorite Men, has led to a unique crowdfunding campaign started by members of the forum. The $5,000 raised will help a deserving CSR member take her first meteorite hunting trip.
Notkin started Club Space Rock (http://meteorites.ning.com) in 2009 as a place for scientists, academics, professional meteorite hunters, dealers, collectors, and enthusiasts to share news and information about meteorites. CSR quickly became the world's largest online meteorite forum and currently has over 3,300 members across the globe.
One of those members, Marissa Fanady, is a 23-year-old college student and amateur astronomer who became fascinated by space rocks several years ago, when she witnessed a brilliant meteor shower that happened to peak on her birthday. After purchasing her first authentic meteorite from Notkin's company, Aerolite Meteorites, she began dreaming of a real-life expedition to unearth a meteorite of her own.
Fanady's challenge is more than just financial, however. Born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, she was not expected to live past the age of 13. Marissa has never walked on her own and has been in a wheelchair since age 4. "My muscle function is decreasing with every year. As my muscles get weak and fade, they shrink and get tight. Eventually, I will lose everything and my life."
When Fanady posted on Club Space Rock about her desire to go meteorite hunting, her intent was only to gather information from experienced hunters about possible locations. But a group of fellow forum members, led by Canadian geologist Rogan Hennie, was touched by Marissa's story and wanted to help. Hennie recalls, "Before we knew it, we were asking, 'How can we get this girl, one of our own, out into the field so she can experience what we experience and may even take for granted?'"
Hennie set up a campaign on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to raise $5,000, which will cover round-trip flight for Marissa and two nurses to the meteorite hunting location, as well as meals, accommodations, a wheelchair-accessible van rental and miscellaneous expenses.
"Something amazing like this never could have transpired in the pre-internet, pre-crowdfunding world," said Notkin. "I've had the pleasure of meeting Marissa in person, and I could not be happier that our friendly, forward-thinking, international community at Club Space Rock has come together to make her spectacular dream come true. I wish her and her team the best space rock hunting!"
Michael Mulgrew, an experienced meteorite hunter and Club Space Rock member who will serve as expedition guide, has chosen to cover his own travel expenses so that every dollar raised helps Marissa achieve her goal. Other forum members have donated meteorites and equipment from their personal collections as perks for donors. Since the campaign has reached its original $5,000 goal, any additional funds received will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
While looking forward to her upcoming meteorite hunting adventure, Faraday says the friendships forged on Club Space Rock have already changed her life.
"I used to think my life was over and that there'd be no point in trying to make a life, when my disease will just Take It All away," she said. "But I realize now that we must make the most out of life while we can, to be able to look back and say it was all worth everything. Even though I face many difficult challenges, I can see the sky's the limit with such amazing people by my side lending a helping hand."
To donate to Marissa's Indiegogo fundraiser, visit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/marissa-s-meteorite. The campaign will close on August 30, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PT.
For more information on Club Space Rock, visit: http://meteorites.ning.com
For more information on Aerolite Meteorites, visit: http://www.AeroliteMeteorites.org
Media wishing to speak with Geoff Notkin should contact Becca Gladden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Aerolite Meteorites PR