EAGAN, Minn., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Forward Expeditions LLC, Ely, Minn., announced today that they will use their upcoming historic Victorinox North Pole expedition to raise awareness and funds for CaringBridge(R), a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization offering free personalized Web sites to people facing serious medical conditions. The world's largest charitable nonprofit Web site, CaringBridge connects more than 20 million families each year through personal, private CaringBridge Web sites. In addition to raising awareness, expedition team members are hopeful that their unique approach to the expedition's physical and mental challenges will also inspire the families using and supporting CaringBridge.
The Victorinox North Pole '09 expedition team of John Huston and Tyler Fish will attempt to become the first Americans to ski unsupported to the North Pole. Huston, age 32 of Chicago, Ill., and Fish, age 34 of Ely, Minn., will depart from the northern tip of Canada's Ellesmere Island in early March 2009 and trek 475 miles over the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole. Their expedition will not receive or use any outside assistance such as airdrops, re-supplies or sled dogs. Instead, Huston and Fish will each carry 30-pound packs and pull 250-pound sleds full of gear, food, cooking fuel and navigational equipment as they negotiate the maze of ice ridges, drifts and open water that stand between them and the Pole. Huston and Fish will travel by skiing and snowshoeing, and when necessary will cross leads by swimming, while wearing dry suits.
"The extremely rugged terrain and bitter cold of the Arctic Ocean make this particular expedition very dangerous and intimidating, and if we lose our focus we could become overwhelmed," says Huston. "We believe that by approaching this challenge with optimism, humility and responsible action, we can be successful and safely reach the Pole."
As they began preparing for their expedition in early 2008, Huston and Fish were inspired by the work of CaringBridge and the medical challenges faced by families who create and use its personal Web sites.
"We thought about all of the people with CaringBridge Web sites and the health challenges they were facing, and we wondered if we could help," says Fish. "What if we could use our expedition to raise awareness and funds for CaringBridge, and make our expedition story available to the thousands of families that use its Web sites every day? Not only would this relationship give our expedition a broader purpose, but just knowing that so many people are supporting us might also help us persevere when the going gets tough."
"We believe that John and Tyler's emphasis on optimism, humility and responsible action will serve them well, and is a powerful connection to many of the families who use CaringBridge," says Sona Mehring, founder and executive director of CaringBridge. "We are honored they chose CaringBridge to be a partner in their inspiring journey to help us reach more families facing serious medical conditions and let them know about CaringBridge."
The upcoming, historic expedition is sponsored by Victorinox. In addition to the sponsorship, Victorinox will provide Huston and Fish with Swiss Army Knives and Victorinox Swiss Army timepieces from the current collection. "Victorinox is honored to be the title sponsor of this expedition and to work with John and Tyler," says Victorinox President Rick Taggart. "These men, their positive attitude, and the integrity of the expedition are messages that, as a brand, we are happy to stand behind."
Throughout their 55-day expedition Huston and Fish will use satellite telephones to upload daily trail dispatches and photographs to the expedition Web site, http://www.northpole09.com. Through these dispatches CaringBridge users, students, teachers, expedition partners and fundraising donors will be able to follow the progress of the expedition.
Forward Expeditions' goal is to raise $100,000 for CaringBridge. Those interested in supporting CaringBridge through the Victorinox North Pole '09 expedition initiative are encouraged to visit http://www.firstgiving.com/northpole09, where they can make a tax-deductible financial donation.
About Forward Expeditions LLC
Forward Expeditions is a values-based company founded by Huston and Fish for the purpose of using ambitious wilderness expeditions to inspire people to embrace challenge with optimism, humility and responsible action. The Victorinox North Pole '09 expedition receives major support from Victorinox/Swiss Army, DeLorme, and Bergans of Norway. For more information visit http://www.northpole09.com.
CaringBridge(R) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization offering free personalized Web sites to those wishing to stay in touch with family and friends when facing a serious medical condition, treatment or recovery. For more information visit http://www.CaringBridge.org.
Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Victorinox, A.G., is the exclusive United States, Canadian and Caribbean marketer of VICTORINOX multi-tools, forged cutlery, and LED lighting products; VICTORINOX SWISS ARMY timepieces, and R.H. FORSCHNER BY VICTORINOX cutlery. It sells apparel throughout the world under the VICTORINOX trademark and has flagship retail stores in New York and Tokyo. Under license from Victorinox A.G., the Company sublicenses the VICTORINOX trademark and the famous Victorinox Cross and Shield to selected manufacturers and distributors of fine products including VICTORINOX TRAVEL GEAR. The company Web site is located at http://www.swissarmy.com. Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc. is based in Monroe, CT. "VICTORINOX," the famous Victorinox Cross and Shield, and "SWISS ARMY" are trademarks owned by Victorinox AG and its affiliates and are registered in many countries.
Contacts: Jack Klobucar Melissa Holm Forward Expeditions LLC CaringBridge Chicago, Ill. and Ely, MN Eagan, Minn. (952) 925-9566 (651) 789-3375
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