World's longest buckeye necklace
Friends' vision raising thousands for Spielman Fund
A quest to build the world's longest buckeye necklace has raised $16,000 to help combat breast cancer.
For the last three years, friends Jonathan Cochran, a Westerville resident, and Alexander Bork, who lives in Powell, have been selling buckeyes one by one to construct what they believe will be the world's longest buckeye necklace.
So far, the pair has sold more than 12,000 buckeyes for $2.50 each. Of that, they expect to donate more than $1 per buckeye to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at Ohio State.
The project began more than five years ago when Cochran, Bork and their friends were talking about the possibility of stringing together the world's longest buckeye necklace.
"We just thought it would be cool to make a really long buckeye necklace," Cochran said.
It was proposed that they would string together 1 million buckeyes, but after doing some math to determine how long and how heavy the necklace would be, they decided to scrap the idea.
"We just figured we couldn't accomplish this, so why even try?" Cochran said.
But the idea brought itself back up, this time as a way to raise money for a charity.
With a smaller goal of making a necklace of 100,000 buckeyes, Cochran and Bork approached the Spielman Fund about creating a fundraiser.
"They loved the idea. They were on the board from the very beginning, and they encouraged us to move forward with it," Cochran said.
The Spielman Fund lacked the ability to collect the funds for buckeye sales, so Cochran and Bork created their own nonprofit organization.
They built a website, and under the name Buckeyes for a Cure, they began selling buckeyes and collecting donations.
They've sold buckeyes at festivals, outside of Ohio State football games and at popular Buckeye hangouts over the last three years.
Each buckeye is numbered and photographed, so those who purchase them can see where in the necklace their buckeye falls.
"At the beginning, we really thought, 'We need something that the sponsors can hold on to,' " Cochran said.
Cochran and Bork tried to work with Guinness World Records to have the necklace officially declared the world's longest buckeye necklace, but the record-keeping group lacked a category to place the necklace in, Cochran said.
Cochran and Bork now are ready to present the necklace to the Spielman Fund, at 4 p.m. July 31 at the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center at Ohio State, 1145 Olentangy River Road, in a ceremony that will feature remarks by Chris Spielman.
Only 98 tickets will be sold for the event, and those who purchase tickets will be awarded one of the first 100 buckeyes in the necklace.
Those buckeyes will be labeled with the donors' names, and the donors names will go on the back of the 8-foot Block "O" display case that will house the necklace at the Spielman center.
The first buckeye and the 36th buckeyes will be presented to Chris Spielman, the first one honoring his late wife and the 36th honoring Chris Spielman with the former Ohio State All-American and All-Pro with his football number.
The other 98 tickets can be purchased through the Buckeyes for a Cure website, buckeyesforacure.com.
As the project wraps up, Cochran said he and Bork are excited about how it has turned out.
"We're thrilled. Going into it, we had never done anything like this before. We're both in IT, and we'd never done any project like this before," Cochran said.
"We're happy. It's kind of weird that it's ending. We've been focused on it for the past four to five years. ... It's been a definite learning experience that hopefully we can apply to another project."