This young man really knows how to take a stand for a cause he believes in.
Harvard University senior Garrett Lam recently broke the Guinness World Record for “longest time to stand on a Swiss ball,” using each second of his 5 hour, 25 minute balancing act to raise funds for four charities, the Boston Globe reported. The student aimed to raise $3,400 for these organizations, and as of Friday he has $2,100 in pledges, with donations still coming in.
“My motivation for this was that if I was successful in this attempt, then I could get more donations,” Lam told the news outlet. “We can do a tremendous amount of good without that much self-sacrifice.”
The 21-year-old’s feat was inspired by Effective Altruism at Harvard, a campus group focused on creative and effective ways to make positive change. Lam used four of the organization’s recommended charities as motivation for his challenge: Against Malaria Foundation -- which works to fight the deadly disease in sub-Saharan Africa -- GiveDirectly -- which helps poor communities in Kenya and Uganda -- and Schistosomiasis Control Initiative and Deworm the World Initiative -- both of which treat people with parasitic infections in developing countries.
“$3,400 can save a life, when donated to the most effective charities,” Lam wrote on his website.
He first learned about the Swiss ball record nearly two years ago, but didn’t think much about it until learning about Effective Altruism. The group motivated him to attempt to break the record while also supporting a cause, the Boston Globe reported. So, after a few weeks of practice, Lam took his stand on Sept. 18 for 5 hours, 25 minutes and 36.98 seconds, according to the Guinness World Records website. While the experience was grueling, Lam is happy his own accomplishment could benefit others.
“I don’t think I’d do [again] it for personal satisfaction,” Lam told the Boston Globe. “But if people get behind me and keep supporting these causes, I’d get back on there.”
Watch the feat in full in the video above.
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