Launcelot Hawk put himself in the hot seat to help stamp out child abuse. Literally
Last summer he made up his mind to sit in every one of the 50,000 seats at CU's Folsom Field to raise money for the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, a Colorado based charity with global reach. Kempe's mission resonated with Hawk, who was himself a victim of child abuse.
"My mother abused all of us," he said, "but me in particular. One day I mouthed off to her and she punched me in the face. I must've been 8 or 9. My sister found me with blood all over my face and took me into the bathroom and locked the door…I know what abused kids are going through, so Kempe was a natural fit."
The idea for his fund raiser came to him when he heard of a similar feat that KNUS talk show host Steve Kelly did at INVESCO Field back in the year 2001.
"I heard about it on the radio and a light bulb went off in my head," Hawk said. "Kelly used to do stunts like crawling the Boulder Mall, or winning the record for the longest time on a Pogo Stick, but nobody was doing stuff like that anymore."
He began pitching his idea to management at stadiums throughout the region, all of whom loved the idea but for one reason or another couldn't – or wouldn't – allow him access to their facilities.
"Finally I got in touch with Folsom Field," Hawk said. "They agreed to it, but I had to jump through a lot of hoops. They wanted to charge a rental fee of several hundred dollars an hour, but I was able to negotiate them down to $100 a day. I also had to get insurance, which cost another $100 per day, so my overall cost was around $400 bucks."
What Hawk had not figured on though, were the record temperatures on those two days in June 2013.
"The mean temperature was around 98 degrees," he said, "but way hotter in the stadium due to the metal bench seats. I slid from one seat to the next, but it was so hot I got 2nd degree burns on my hands. And that was just on the first day in the first section. I had to borrow gloves from the maintenance man to keep on going."
He started at 8:00 in the morning and went 'til 5:00 that evening, taking ten minute breaks every hour and drinking gallons of Gatorade to fend off heat exhaustion.
"There was nobody there to cheer me on," he said, "so I was getting depressed. On Day 2, Angie Austin (AM 670 KLTT) did an interview with me over the phone. That boosted my spirits."
In the end, Hawk was able to sit in approximately half of the stadium's 50,000 seats. He has no idea how much money he raised, and says that for his next fund raiser – stair running for the Denver Dumb Friends League – he plans to recruit an assistant to keep track of the donations. He's also looking for a media sponsor, and has begun training for the event, working out on a stair stepper, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
Looking back on the bun-broiling escapade at Folsom Field, Hawk said, "The stunt garnered attention for the cause and the issue. I looked at it like every seat in the stadium represented a child I could help. I felt really good about giving myself completely for the benefit of others, and even though it totally kicked my butt, I got some idea of what I'm capable of physically."
For more info:
Launcelot Hawk FirstContactColorado.com
Want to donate? Contact the Kempe Foundation at 303-864-5300 or go to www.Kempe.org
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Don Morreale is currently at work on a collection of his Examiner stories for publication this spring under the title "Cowboys, Yogis, and One-legged Ski Bums."