Are you afraid of heights? Swimming with sharks? If you have a phobia you've been meaning to overcome, now is a particularly good time, thanks to a new campaign from the Canadian Cancer Society that lets you simultaneously raise money for the fight against cancer.
The idea behind the cash-and-awareness push, called the Fearless Challenge and created by Lowe Roche, is basically Kickstarter meets Fear Factor for a good cause. Make a video of yourself describing your fear, set a target for how much cash it will take to get you face that fear, and when you've reached your fundraising goal, make another a video proving that you didn't chicken out.
It launches with endorsements and pledges from celebrities, many of them actors. Kevin Zegers (of Air Bud and Gossip Girl), for example, will face his fear of embarrassment and confrontation by fighting a professional sumo wrestler for $10,000. Jonathan Keltz (of The CW's Reign and HBO's Entourage), who is terrified of spiders, will allow himself to be covered in tarantulas for $5,000. Self-described control freak Italia Ricci (of ABC's Chasing Life) will submit to a stunt drive with boyfriend Robbie Amell (of The CW's The Flash) for $2,000.
The strategy is, overall, a clever one. It offers a relatively lighthearted way to approach an issue that's deeply scary, while also seeking to address the problem substantively. Proceeds from the campaign will go toward cancer research and support services for cancer patients and their families. And one of the campaign's key premises, that "no fear is too big or small," is a great one, sure to help keep the scope broad. Case in point: One of the challenges features a shy guy pledging to high-five strangers for $100.
The woman who is promising on her pledge page to hug a circus clown for $100, though, really might want to reconsider. It's perfectly rational to avoid that.
Check out more videos and campaign materials after the jump.