When Ron Shore's sister-in-law died from breast cancer, he took a unique approach to dealing with grief. He crafted an 18-pound diamond-encrusted golden eagle that will sit at the center of a treasure hunt intended to raise money for breast cancer research.
Shore has always dreamed of sponsoring a treasure hunt of some kind. He even wrote his master's thesis on organizing a million-dollar treasure hunt, but Shore never put his plan into action.
"I thought to myself, it's a nice dream to have, but I'm president of a telecommunications company and didn't have the time," said Shore, who is president of Telesave Communications in Vancouver, British Columbia.
But when Shore's sister-in-law, Gabriele Helms, died in 2004 from breast cancer, Shore saw an opportunity to fulfill his dream and promote breast cancer research in Helms' memory.
With the help of some friends, Shore decided to craft the golden eagle and write a book with clues to its whereabouts. From these, The World's Greatest Treasure Hunt was created — the treasure hunt Shore always wanted to organize. The hunt's participants use clues from the book and online to solve puzzles and win keys and silver eagles. The participant who ultimately "finds" the certificate to the Golden Eagle wins $1 million.
While the real Golden Eagle isn't the prize for the hunt, it is Shore's way of promoting the competition. The eagle, which is the largest such statue in the world, has been partially covered in 763 diamonds and topped off with a 13.72-carat Atocha Star Emerald. Shore, who paid for the statue out of his own pocket, is trying to sell it for $5 million. Sotheby's estimated the value of the eagle to be around $6 million, so consider Shore's $5 million asking price a discount.
When the eagle is purchased, Shore will donate $1 million of the proceeds to a charity of the buyer's choice. There is also a $100,000 commission for the person who helps find a buyer for the eagle.
Shore's goal is to eventually raise $25 million for breast cancer research from the treasure hunt.
Copyright 2012 by Business Insider, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission from Business Insider, Inc.