September 1, 2020 was the roughest day of my life. I received a call from my father’s care taker that he was unresponsive to the paramedics efforts and he was gone.
Losing a parent is something you can’t prepare for, even if you feel you tried, you can’t ready yourself for those emotions until they surround you.
When you lose both your parents, and I had already lost my mother 3 years prior, you feel like an orphan, even if you are in your 40s.
Over the next several months I reflected on my father’s life and my relationship with him, and one thing that always stood out to me is that, no matter how busy his schedule was, he always found time to continue his volunteer work with the Shriners Children’s Hospital, where he served on the board for years and is honored on what is basically their wall of fame.
I knew I wanted to try to do something to help others. As I played around with ideas in my head, the idea came to me about trying to do a charity drive on Twitter, being my account is so tied to Chicago Bears coverage, tying something to the Bears season this year made too much sense.
During the month of August, Bears Twitter got pretty heated. People were upset Justin Fields wasn’t getting enough first team reps, Matt Nagy said it was Andy Dalton’s job, and Bears Twitter was at each other’s throats about this topic.
Why not take something negative and turn it into a positive?
Thus, the QB1 Charity Challenge was born. Not the Andy Dalton Charity Challenge, not the Justin Fields Charity Challenge, the QB1 Charity Challenge.
I wanted to encourage some fun and turn that fun into donations, and maybe, just maybe, help people forget how frustrated they were with the franchise or other fans.
In 17 games, we had Bears fans delivering guesses for the QB’s stats for that game, and the closest was able to pick a charity they support. We helped areas in need receive COVID vaccinations, we helped diabetic patients that don’t have access to insulin, we helped feed the hungry, we supported cancer research and we helped foundations of former Bears players like Charles Tillman and Matt Forte. We also supported Jeff Dickerson’s family after his tragic passing.
QB1 Charity Challenge, final update:— Bill Zimmerman (@ZimmermanSXM) January 14, 2022
Thank you to all of #Bears Twitter who participated!
I made one final donation to @ShrinersChicago of $108 in memory of my late father who volunteered on the board for years (and the was motivation behind this project)
Total Raised: $7,000! pic.twitter.com/b3akUP7hB5
I set the goal at the beginning of the year at $5,000 and really wasn’t certain if we would reach that goal. I was hopeful that we would raise $2,000 or $3,000 and felt that was attainable after the first few games, but the giving spirit really took off around Thanksgiving and Christmas and I am so pleased that thanks to so much participation and several people who matched donations along the way (and a special shout out to Jonathan Siegel who really supported the cause), we were able to raise $7,000.
I want to thank all Bears fans who participated in this throughout the season. In a season that saw Justin Fields play a lot less than we hoped, a 6-11 record and the firings of both Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace, it’s great to be able to look back on this season and know that something good came out of a really disappointing Chicago Bears season.
One interaction was just $1. The fact that people had fun along the way and those tiny $1 interactions added up to $7,000 after 17 games is truly remarkable.
Thank you again Bears Twitter, we did a great thing together!