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You folks have cost me a lot of sleep the last couple years. And I love you for it.

That’s because at each of the last two MLB Trade Deadlines, your support of Bleacher Nation forced me to blog for 24 hours straight at the 2011 deadline, and then for 30 hours straight at the 2012 deadline. Those Blogathon events raised money to help run this here site, and I left each experience overwhelmed by your support, your energy, your participation, and your eagerness to watch me wilt in a sleep-deprived pile of goo.

I also left each experience feeling unbelievably blessed to be able to write at Bleacher Nation as a full-time job, and be a part of such a special community. We’ve developed a nice little corner of the Cubs’ online world, and I feel very privileged to be a part of it.

Because I have been so blessed by your support, and because we have all been blessed to be part of a very cool community, I think we should use this year’s BN Trade Deadline Blogathon fundraiser to do some real, tangible good out there. Specifically, I’m asking you to help give children special, Chicago Cubs-related wishes.

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This year, Bleacher Nation is partnering with Make-A-Wish® Illinois. The mission of Make-A-Wish is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish cannot accomplish that mission without the help and support of others, and that’s where you come in. Together, our goal this month is to sponsor the wish of a young Chicago Cubs fan.

I’m going to do a Blogathon at the Trade Deadline, but it’s up to you to really get me there. So let’s make a deal.

I’ll commit right now to blogging for 24 hours straight leading up to the Trade Deadline on July 31. No breaks. No sleep. Constant coverage. Writing. Tweeting. Commenting. Kvetching. The run-up to the deadline is among the most important times in the baseball season, and I intend to go crazy covering everything out there during the BN Blogathon. You’re getting 24 hours right now, guaranteed.

But who wants 24 hours when you can have 30 hours? Or 36 hours?

If you folks collectively donate $6,000 – the cost of sponsoring a child’s wish – by July 30, I’ll step that 30 hours straight. And if you really dig deep, and we go over that $6,000 mark, I’ll tack on an additional hour for every $1,000 you generous folks donate. Although I’m going to cap the Blogathon at 36 hours (which would be a total of $12,000 raised – the cost of two wishes), there’s no limit on the amount we can raise together. Every dollar raised will go straight to Make-A-Wish with the intention that it be used to grant a wish to a child who wishes for an experience related to the Chicago Cubs. We all love the Cubs, and it would be pretty amazing to help a child do something that will deepen his/her own love of the Cubs.

It’s up to you to make this happen.

Here’s how you donate: go to the BN Blogathon fundraiser page, and make your donation there.

Make-A-Wish is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, so, to the extent you were wondering, financial contributions may be deductible for federal income tax purposes. Just throwing that out there.

This is win-win for you, my friends. By giving whatever you can, you not only help change the life of a fellow Chicago Cubs fan, but you also ensure ridiculous, over-the-top coverage at the Trade Deadline. Seeing if I can make it to 30 or 36 hours without posting pictures of cats dressed as unicorns is just a bonus.

I know that some of you will still want to use the Blogathon as a mechanism to support Bleacher Nation, and I thank you very much in advance for your spirit. But let’s save the dollars for Make-A-Wish and young Cubs fans. If you still want to support this site directly as you have in the past, you can do so without any money at all. You could tell your friends and family about this fundraiser. You could spread the word about it on Twitter or Facebook. You could finally follow BN on Twitter or like it on Facebook, and tell your Cubs fan friends to do the same thing. You can help make this fundraiser hugely successful for a special young Cubs fan, and you would be helping Bleacher Nation in the process just like you have in the past. Let’s spread the word about this fundraiser, and make it a huge success.

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