A Glossary of the Terms:
Moon Bears: Beautiful brown bear with a crescent shape on its chest, officially known as the Asiatic Brown Bear. The most common bear in China, yet very threatened due to:
Bile Extraction: This vile operation involves caging bears often in something called a “crush cage” too tight to move in, for as much as several decades, inserting a tube to syphon out the bile which is sold as a coveted Chinese medicine for ailments like erectile dysfunction and hangovers. The bile will not cure cancer; in fact it may cause it, at least for the bear. The bears themselves often develop liver cancer because of the constant syphoning. “The fluids from a diseased neglected animal can't be good for anyone, in my mind,” Kai Madden said, which brings us to:
Kai Madden: He has a cool name and a cool mission. This Tarrytown man, by way of Britain, read about the plight of the moon bears many years ago. In recent years, he did some research and decided to channel his distress over this situation. If you haven't seen all the flyers he's posted around the Village, here's where he's channelling:
Tough Mudder: This crazy obstacle race subjects its participants to cruelties only a moon bear (or third-time returning competitor Madden) knows. “I had never run 12 miles in my life before, let alone while getting burned, frozen and electrocuted,” Madden said.
Designed by British Special Forces, these 10-12 mile challenges held around the globe involve tests like swimming through dumpsters of ice water, running through structures of dangling high-voltage wire you can't help but be zapped by, navigating burning hay bales, and other ridiculous feats that sound like the makings of a bad reality show. But Madden isn't doing this for fame or some weird personal kick, he's raising money to save the moon bears through the nonprofit Animals Asia.Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories just like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Fast signup here.
How does one prepare for such a race? Madden said he runs often, but “there's only so much you can do.” He takes cold showers and runs a few miles during his lunch break at work (as a web designer at PepsiCo in Somers). But he'll save the electrocution, the hardest part, for race day.
The race is in Pocono Manor, PA on May 12. He's raised $6,795 currently toward his goal of $10,000. If Madden raises enough money, he could also win an extra $25,000 toward his cause from a Groupon Earth Day Challenge on Crowdrise, the site that is hosting his fundraiser. He's in third place now and it's looking very possible that he could in fact get that bundle of cash on May 15.
His family meanwhile, has threatened to start a foundation that will raise money for him not to do the race. But Madden thinks he will be more effective as a fundraiser doing something rather than nothing. “The money would be great, but raising awareness will be even better,” he said.
In his promotional materials on his website, he used to showcase photos of sad bears in cages to pull at people's heart strings; now he's opted to take a positive approach. See the attached YouTube video and photo of the progress possible: healthy rescued bears.
You can read more about Madden's effort and donate here.