At the Titanic, the combined force of 2.5 miles of down-pressing water (6000psi, or the force of a 22 caliber bullet pressed over every square inch), squeezes Styrofoam coffee cups down to the size of hard-plastic shot glasses.
During James Cameron's Ghosts of the Abyss expedition, Charles Pellegrino inscribed thirty cups, and shrank them together with their inscriptions, while they dangled outside the Mir-2 submersible, in a fishnet stocking, during his tour of the bow and stern sections of the Titanic, on September 10, 2001. The purpose of this exercise was to turn the mementos into eventual funding devices for the Michael J. Fox organization (and for two other worthy foundations), once this site began to take shape and had demonstrated a healthy potential as a source of charitable donations.
The Ghosts of the Abyss expedition proved to be unusually historic, for when the Russian research vessel Keldysh sailed to the Titanic in August of 2001, the last remnants of the Cold War were still alive. After the attacks of September 11, the Russian-American crew became family - a family to whom the word "Ohana" means everything, regardless of the differing and sometimes even conflicting paths our government leaders may follow. When Pellegrino returned to the Keldysh in 2003, after two years of forensic physics and forensic archaeology at Ground Zero, he carried, as a gift to her crew, the FDNY-inscribed Russian flag (the new, red-white-and-blue flag) that had flown above the crater alongside his father's American flag. The gift symbolized Ohana - "which means family, and family means no one ever gets left behind, or forgotten."
At periodic intervals (of approximately three months), anyone who makes a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation or to either of the other two foundations listed here will be eligible for a random drawing to receive one of the 2001 Titanic Expedition XIII cups (and to own a piece of history). Names of all winners will be posted on this site.
To enter, send donations ($10 or more) to:
(A) The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease Research, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, New York, N.Y. 10163. Or call the Foundation and donate by phone: (800) 708-7644. The Foundation is keeping track of donations carrying the notation "In honor of Walter Lord," and forwarding cards direct to Pellegrino for the drawing. (In case of any small chance of glitches in the system, you may want to mail acknowledgement of receipt to Pellegrino at the address below). The Foundation discloses that it supports stem cell research. For readers who would like additional options, two other fine organizations that, like M.J.F., direct donations entirely to the causes they support, are listed below:
(B) The New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation, 21 Asch Loop, Bronx, New York 10475. Or call the foundation and donate by phone: (718) 379-1900. Not many people know this, but even a half decade or a decade later, burn victims (amongst them 9-11 survivors) still require a great deal of care. This non-profit organization was founded by firefighters, "to make burn care available to all who are seriously burned, regardless of age, race, creed, or economic status." No member of this Foundation takes a salary. All donations go directly into the advancement of burn care, research, and education.
(C) Sri Lanka: The Institute of Integral Education. Fr. Mervyn Fernando has developed a program in Sri Lanka that, like burn care in New York, is aimed long term, in this case, at long-term spiritual and mental health care of families impacted by the "Christmas Tsunamis." The program is endorsed by Fr. Fernando's long-time friend, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, and it is endorsed just as heartily by Pellegrino as well. You can channel donations through a very close friend of Fr. Fernando's in Ohio - Dr. Bill Shaw, of Crosscurrents International (e-mail: email@example.com) or by direct Name of Account: Institute of Integral Education. A/C No. 02 1131206 01. Swift Code SCB LLX LX. Fr. Fernando will acknowledge receipt of all donations, and a copy of acknowledgement will enter you in the contest.
Family and close friends of Pellegrino are not eligible for contest drawings. People who have made past donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation will automatically be included randomly in future drawings. Each acknowledgement of receipt for a donation of $10 or more to any of the above will be counted as a new entry, increasing the probability of a win. Donate (and enter) as many times as you wish. To become eligible for contest drawing, simply send verification that a donation was received (a thank-you letter from any of the above, or a photocopy of a canceled check [with your account numbers removed, of course]) c/o Charles Pellegrino, The Renaissance, 170 West Broadway, Long Beach, N.Y. 11561.
We thank you in advance. And, good luck.
- - C.R.P.