The Traveling Mr Fox
The Traveling Mr. Fox
Long before there was Instagram or social media, 33 years ago to be exact, I got a little stuffed fox from a family friend named Gary for my third birthday. I very creatively named him Mr. Fox, and little did I know the adventures we would have together! In 2007, I got invited by a friend to visit Colombia, and this was when the travel bug hit big time. On a lark, I tossed my faithful Mr. Fox into my bag, who I had somehow managed to keep all these years into adulthood. On another whim, while exploring the Zona Cafetera in Colombia, I thought it would be fun to start taking some photos of him, like he was on holiday. Thus the Traveling Mr. Fox was born, and I continued to travel as much as possible in the following years, always bringing Mr. Fox and taking silly snaps. I did this really just for myself and never bothered to share them online, this was a pre-Instagram world after all! However, I would send Gary emails now and then, keeping him up to date on the 'adventures' of Mr. Fox and I, and he got a kick out of seeing the little toy he so casually picked up over 30 years ago 'trotting' around the globe.
In November of 2013, we got the news that Gary was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. As anyone who has a friend going through a similar ordeal, you know how helpless and useless you feel. Although Gary had decent insurance and didn't have the extreme financial crisis that some go through when a diagnosis like this hits, we were still thinking of what we could do to buoy his spirits and let him know everyone was behind him. My aunt had the brilliant idea to do a little 'Go Fund Me' page with the theme of raising some 'mad money' amongst friends to send Gary and his wonderfully supportive wife Lynn on a fun holiday when he could take a chemo break. Since our fundraiser was for a trip and had a travel theme, we thought (ok I have to give my Aunt credit again, she was on fire with the ideas) that I should use Mr. Fox as a mascot for our fundraiser, since he is quite well traveled and Gary was the one who bought Mr. Fox for me all those years ago.
We put together a little page and started canvassing Gary's friends via message to see how much we could raise, and I finally scraped through my hard drives and rounded up all the photos I had taken of Mr. Fox all these years so I could post them on Instagram to go along with our fundraiser. On another whim, I posted a few to Instagrammers Gallery, which was having a contest for Instagram Photos. As luck would have it, a journalist saw my photos and contacted me to write a story about it that would be shared on a few publications like the UK Sun and Daily Mail! Well, it was all downhill from there and in the end, our story was shared all over and featured on tons of websites and we managed to raise over $5k for Gary and Lynn to take a wonderful little holiday! xx Jessica