Inspired by Nordstrom best-seller, doctor offers rocks in exchange for $85 donation

Posted December 15, 2016

MILWAUKEE — In case you’ve been living under a rock, Nordstrom made waves by selling out of an $85 leather-wrapped stone earlier this month. But thanks to a doctor at a Wisconsin children’s hospital, there’s still hope you’ll find a rock under your Christmas tree, and this one is a gift you can feel good about.

When Dr. David Margolis, head of the bone-marrow transplant program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, caught wind of the hottest new item on Nordstrom’s website, he did a bit of a double take.

“I’ve heard that people are buying online, rocks for $85,” he said in a video for the hospital. “I’ve heard that a major retailer is sold out of $85 rocks. Can you believe that?”

It’s true. In case you missed it, Nordstrom shoppers became enamored with the “Medium Leather Wrapped Stone” earlier this month, Today reported. What is this must-have Christmas gift, you might ask?

It’s literally a rock wrapped in a leather pouch. May sound a bit bizarre, but the rock is currently sold out on the retailer’s website.

“It reminded me of Soap and Rope and the pet rock, which were interesting fads,” Margolis told WDJT News. “Eighty-five dollars is a fair amount of money.”

While Margolis — a Nordstrom shopper himself — couldn’t quite understand the appeal, it gave him an idea. Shoppers may not be able to get their hands on the trendy “Los Angeles-area stone,” but they can put that $85 to a good cause and still get a rock in return.

“Send us $85 and I will be happy to send you a rock from the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan,” Margolis said.

His campaign — “Rocks for a Reason” — has taken off with a bang, thanks in part to social media. Since its launch last Friday, 150 people from across the country have donated more than $16,000 to the hospital, according to WDJT.

Among those who’ve donated — parents and families of children who’ve received treatment at Margolis’s hospital.

“We’re all just human, and we’re all in this together,” Margolis told Today. “I deal with a wide range of emotions being a cancer doctor, and I have learned that you’ve gotta try to have fun, be part of society, be engaged with your patients and community. That’s what we tried to do with this.”

Margolis spent the weekend making good on his promise — he bundled up and hit the shores of Lake Michigan to gather souvenirs for generous donors, though he wasn’t counting on the rocks being frozen together.

“It took a little effort to knock them loose,” he told Today.

Luckily, a local quarry offered to donate rocks to the project so Margolis can go back to his most important work — helping sick children get their lives back, according to the hospital’s Facebook page.

“People do like the idea of helping others,” Margolis told WDJT News. “I think that’s very poignant during the holiday season that people are willing to click, share, view and then donate.”

Margolis made a donation in honor of the company that inspired the campaign in the first place: Nordstrom, Today reported.

The Rocks for a Reason campaign will continue to accept donations on its website through New Year’s Eve.

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.


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