Ringing In The End of the 5RingDiet
The 5RingDiet Closing Ceremony party was the perfect way to say goodbye to my 24-day lifestyle. There was such an outpouring of support and generosity by followers, donors, party attendees, and local businesses, it was a great culmination of the last 24 days.
Cuna Sports Lounge on Belmont hosted us. And they were PHENOMENAL. Paolo welcomed me and all my eccentricities with open arms. He reserved a big space for us in the middle of the bar, surrounded by giant TVs tuned to NBC’s coverage of the Closing Ceremony. He donated 20% of drink sales back to Camp Promise and even rounded up to the nearest hundred. He even let me bring my own #5RingDiet Budweiser. That’s right, I convinced a bar to let me BYOB.
Our tables were full of some of my closest Chicago friends, friends of friends, and even total strangers showing up to support Camp Promise. Remember Rick, the stranger I met on the El just two days before who later donated to camp? He showed up with four of his friends. (Or maybe they were people he just picked up on the El on the way to the bar…who knows?) But by the end of the night, we were all old friends. (And not because he bought everyone a round of drinks.)
My neighborhood Chipotle was equally awesome. When I talked to Justin, one of their managers, about what I was doing, he donated burritos for the party-goers to enjoy as soon as the flame was extinguished (more on that in a minute.) And Phoebe’s Bakery even donated cupcakes to help ring in the end of the 5RingDiet.
When the Closing Ceremonies began, Camp Promise was still $2,655 from our $25,000 fundraising goal. Since the start of the 5RingDiet, approximately $12,500 had been donated to camp. So while $2,655 wasn’t something you could find under a couch cushion, it also didn’t seem totally out of the realm of possibilities that we might raise that much over the next two hours.
Steadily, the donations came flowing in. $5 here. $50 there. $400. And slowly but steadily it kept adding up. Every time a donation came in, I announced it to the bar and periodically, someone shouted out “How are we doin?” and I’d give an update.
And then things got tense. With less than $800 to go and the Olympic flame nearing being extinguished forever, the clock struck 9:45pm—15 minutes before Chipotle closed.
I made a snap decision to end the 5RingDiet early if we got enough donations, and we got some, but not enough. That’s when three of my friends decided to take matters out of my hands (and the coupons for free burritos out of my backpack) and go get Chipotle before they closed.
More donations came in. When the flame went out, we were still a couple of hundred shy of the mark, but by the time my burrito was finished, so was our fundraising. We’d made it.
But before the best Chipotle burrito of my life, I excitedly pulled out my backpack of post-5RingDiet items, ready to get back to normalcy. Or as close to normalcy as I get.
Stay tuned for more on what I did with my first 24-hours off the 5RingDiet and some exciting news about one of the Olympic Sponsors. As for now, I’m taking my jeans-wearing self down to the WGN Radio studio for an interview about the last 25 days. Hope you’ll tune in!