Oak Park resident makes napping philanthropic

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By Ashley Lisenby

Digital Editor

Most dares don't turn into a humanitarian cause, so who would have thought one outgoing person, plus a bizarre-looking sleeping aid called the "ostrich pillow," would equal more than $2,000 in donations to West Suburban PADS, a non-profit organization with over 1,000 volunteers that provides shelter, goods and services for the homeless.

Steve Bankes, a PADS board member, accepted a challenge from his friend Michele Golden last month. If she could get people to give a total of $500 to PADS, he would have to wear the ostrich pillow on a plane.

Golden had spotted the large, grey padded pillow, which engulfs the entire head except for the nose and mouth in a catalogue and wondered who would actually wear it on a plane, said Bankes.

The dare quickly developed into a campaign, "Nap Against Homelessness," with a Facebook page and an Indiegogo site.

"We blasted through our $500 goal in a matter of hours," wrote Golden on the fundraising page a couple of days after the initial launch on April 24.

And since a bet is a bet, there is a photo on the group's Facebook page proving that Bankes wore the alien-looking headwear on a recent trip.

But Bankes, who says he loves supporting PADS, was willing to go the extra mile for the organization.

After the goal was met, Bankes raised the stakes. The new dare stated that if they could raise $2,000 for West Suburban PADS, he would sing, perhaps fittingly, the song "All By Myself," at a local karaoke bar wearing the pillow.

"I thought, there's no way it would reach $2,000," said Bankes. "But it did, so now I'm going to sing karaoke with this thing on."

"Nap Against Homelessness" raised $2,096 by the end of their fundraising campaign on May 15.

Bankes said his next fundraising challenge might be base jumping off the Trump Tower, but that statement was quickly followed by, "I'm joking of course."   

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