Meet ‘The Fredinator’

Fred Noble has led efforts that have helped raise more than $100,000 for Ski To Defeat ALS.

Fred Noble has led efforts that have helped raise more than $100,000 for Ski To Defeat ALS.


Story type: Fundraising appeal
Vehicle: Social Media
Strategy: Sometimes, all it takes is a quick story-post on Facebook to generate enthusiasm for your cause.

By Phil Favorite
Let me tell you about the coolest dude I know. His name is Fred Noble, and he likes to describe himself as the most famous non-famous person in the world. That’s because he’s inspired thousands of people and made hundreds of friends in a long life well lived. He was born 75 years ago into abject poverty, passed around from orphanage to orphanage, and has been on his own since he was 15. He was an undersized high school athlete who never backed down from any challenge. He scraped together a working life for himself because he just kept showing up to the job site, whether he was needed or not. Pretty soon, they couldn’t do without him. He eventually became an expert tower man, free-climbing his way above the hills of Portland in one of the most dangerous gigs out there. Cheating death became a theme in his life. He became a world-renowned backcountry skier where no powder was too deep and no slope too steep. He became an expert extreme wind surfer, casting himself out in the Columbia River when 70 mph winds scared away the most fearless of his peers. He survived a paragliding accident in Brazil so horrific he was immobilized for 11 months, needing round-the-clock care to survive. But he found his way back to the slopes, the waves, the rivers and the skies. He kept traveling, making friends of strangers and spreading his infectious joy all around the world. He’s indomitable. And when, at age 73, he was diagnosed with ALS, a fatal disease with no cure, he skipped the stages of grief and went straight to acceptance. Now he dedicates everything he does and every dime he has to helping others with this terrible disease, and helping the great folks who help them and are working to find a cure. So this weekend, I’m walking for Fred — the man known lovingly as The Fredinator — and all the other folks and families who live with terrible disease. If we keep trying, if we’re indomitable like Fred Noble, nothing can stop us. We will defeat ALS.

Impact: After posting this “stream-of-conscience” appeal , I saw my fundraising double in a day and soon reach 200 percent of goal.

Post-script: “Phil’s enthusiasm for our cause and his ability to tap into the emotion of the event were remarkable. It was amazing to watch the reaction to his Facebook post and watch the donations pour in.” — Aubrey McAuley, director of development, The ALS Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington

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