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November 5, 2013

Official Charity Highlights: Premier Charities: ALSAC St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Premier Charity: ALSAC St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Dolf Hero

Become an ASICS LA Marathon St. Jude Hero and join local patient dad, Dolf, in the fight against pediatric cancer!

Third time ASICS LA Marathon runner and father to St. Jude patient Brooke, Dolf shares with us his experience as a Hero.

As a father of a St. Jude patient what has been your experience with St. Jude?

“St. Jude has provided our family with hope, inspiration, support and compassion unlike anything we could have ever imagined prior to receiving the diagnosis that our then 4 year old daughter, Brooke, had a rare pituitary brain tumor.  We lived in Memphis at the Target House for nearly 3 months in 2010 while Brooke was getting treated and having experienced firsthand exactly what happens there and the outreach, love and support to St. Jude patients and their families, St. Jude is simply too good to be true!  If I didn’t live it, I wouldn’t believe to what extent St. Jude’s goes to channel all energy towards curing those beloved children.  Although Brooke’s treatments officially ended in May 2010, she is still an active patient of St. Jude and returns frequently for follow up appointments and monitoring of her tumor.  We are forever indebted to St. Jude for welcoming us into the St. Jude family as virtually everyone we’ve been in contact there has a soft spot in their hearts for the kids and their families and it shows in how they treat everyone, every day.  It is a very special place.

Why you are completing the ASICS LA Marathon? While I can obtain donations and create awareness for St. Jude without running 26.2 miles in one day, my daughter is in a marathon of her own that is far more challenging and a daily reality she will deal with for the rest of her life so my running this marathon as a St. Jude Hero is to honor her while raising money for St. Jude (a double benefit).

To become a St. Jude Hero please contact:  Andrea.Pelayo@stjude.org

November 4, 2013

Official Charity Highlights: Featured Charities — The Dream Center

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Featured Charity: The Dream Center
Featured Charity: ARC

Dream CenterAs an official charity of the ASICS LA Marathon, The Dream Center is challenging our supporters to RUN FOR HOPE.

Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that has an estimated 27 million victims in the world today.  It’s happening in our back yard with the FBI identifying Los Angeles as one of the hotspots for domestic and international trafficking.

When you support the Dream Center’s run for hope team you help restore lives torn apart by human trafficking. All proceeds raised go directly to the program which rescues, rehabilitates and restores adult female survivors.

http://www.dreamcenter.org/marathon/

 

 

 

 

 

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Team ARC

About James Jenson, First person with Down Syndrome to finish the NYC Marathon:

From the age of 8 Jimmy lived in group homes.  Twelve years ago Jimmy came to be a part of the ARC Adaptive Living Program.  He was withdrawn, overweight, lacked self-confidence, and self care skills. For the first time in his Team ARClife he was living semi-independently. Having caring people to encourage him Jimmy began wearing dentures, choosing his own clothing and learning to cook and clean.  Jimmy loves to dance, play basketball, attend his day program ARC where he volunteers at the local senior center, plays in an English hand bell choir, learns budgeting & shopping skills, goes into the community, and much more.

In 2002 he saw some friends doing a 5k.  Jennifer his now coach suggested they start training so he could join his friends.  From then on began a routine of going to local parks, walking on the Treadmill and dancing to get ready for the 5k.  In 2003 Jimmy was so excited that he was no longer sitting on the sidelines watching, but participating and getting a medal.

Over the years Jimmy grew to enjoy walking and “a little bit of running, but not too much.”  He started doing 10k, and ½ marathons.  2013 he finished his 1st marathon, the ASICS LA Marathon.

What inspired you to participate in this race?

“I wanted to go to the park and do the marathon with Jennifer my coach and Rafael my roommate.  I do it for my friends.”  Jimmy understands that all the great things he is able to do like go camping in Malibu, playing sports, and going into the community all cost money and he wants to help raise money for his program ARC.

ARC Activities, Recreation & Care for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

ARC is a charitable, non-profit, tax deductible, California corporation, incorporated for the purpose of promoting the welfare, protection, education & advancement of individuals with developmental disabilities. It is designed to assess the ability & potential of each person, then develop and implement a regimen of activities calculated to help achieve his/her full potential for mental, emotional, physical & spiritual development.

Since its founding in 1969, ARC has grown and adapted to the needs of the individuals with Developmental Disabilities it serves. ARC brings awareness and advocates for individuals with developmental disabilities with its English Hand bell & Chime Choirs, and Team ARC.  ARC also has a programs and activities for individuals with IDD 18 years and older; those programs include Day Program, Adaptive Living, Saturday Program, Young Adult Club, 2 camping trips and soon ARC will be opening its first residential care facility to meet the needs of ARCers with higher level of needs.

Please visit http://www.arcandadults.org/index.html for more information.

Sponsor Jimmy to run the LA Marathon at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jimmy-j/2014

Contact Info: Jennifer or Rosie (818)762-4365 jennifer@arcandadults.org rsathre@arcandadults.org

November 4, 2013

Official Charity Highlights: Featured Charities — Students Off and Running (SOAR) & Corazon de Vida

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Featured Charity: Students Off and Running (SOAR)
Featured Charity: Corazon de Vida

KeevaThe Road Less Traveled

“Coach, I don’t know if I can make it.” She said it plainly as her eyes welled with tears.

It was Mile 22, and 16 year old Priscilla had just “hit the wall”, a term used by long distance runners to describe a complete and utter meltdown of mind, body, and spirit. As I assessed her condition, trying to find words of encouragement, I reflected on the day’s events. Priscilla was having a tough day. Blistered by Mile 6 and bandaged by Mile 10, Priscilla had become dehydrated and listless by Mile 19, and now at 22, more than 6 hours into the race, she stood at the edge of the abyss, dangerously close to heat exhaustion.

“Listen kid, I believe in you. This is just another race, and you and I are going to finish this one together. We’re almost home. You own this thing. Don’t let it beat you.”

She hung her head for a moment, then met my gaze and managed a smile. And in that moment, I knew that she had dug deep, and found the strength and inner courage to achieve the impossible.

Priscilla finished the ASICS LA Marathon on Sunday in 7 hours 22 minutes and 5 seconds, forever changed, and you, my friends, were with us every step of the way. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Of the 25,000 or so official registrants, just over 17,000 would complete the full 26.2 . The winner would cross the line in just under 2 hours 14 minutes, receive a check for $100,000 dollars, and drive home in a new car.

As for me, I’ll keep my 7:22, the memories of one kid’s courage, and a smile shared at 22.
- SOAR Head Coach Kevin Sarkissian

The Santa Clarita Track Club’s SOAR program offers a six month 380 mile, marathon training experience to local youth in need ages 13-18 at no cost to participants or their families. Students committing to the 24 week training season are covered for all event registration fees, equipment, transportation, and training supplies at a cost of approximately $1,000 per participant.  Weekly goals are set in a non-competitive environment that stresses ‘the finish’ over ‘the win’.  Starting with a single mile, participants add miles each week until they are prepared to take on the 26.2 mile ASICS LA Marathon.

During training, coaches emphasize personal commitment, nutrition, conditioning, injury prevention, and general well-being.

Sponsor a SOAR student as they take the road less traveled:  http://soar.kintera.org/2014

Contact Info: Kevin Sarkissian, Director / Head Coach,   661-877-7024

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CORAZON DE VIDA FOUNDATION (CDV)CDV

What Inspires Daniel Sandoval, Marathon Runner and Long-time CDV volunteer to run for TEAM CDV?

“Running a marathon was on my bucket list for several years. Each year would pass and I’d tell myself I’d do it the following year.  But, when Corazon De Vida asked me to run the LA Marathon to raise money for the children, I knew that my time had come to step up and take on this challenge. What better way to accomplish a personal goal than to pair it with an important cause.  I ran the marathon with all of my heart and soul because I knew it would create an opportunity for these children to do great things in their life. With a strong enough reason people can accomplish anything their heart’s desire. I found my reason and I can hold on to that accomplishment for the rest of my life. You have more to gain by saying yes. Believe in yourself and make a difference!”

This year, each TEAM CDV runner will be assigned a child to run for and have a photo of their child to pin on their running Jersey.  Runners will even have an opportunity to meet their child in person!

Be a “HERO” to a child and join TEAM CDV!

Sponsor Daniel Sandoval to run the LA Marathon!  http://www.crowdrise.com/lam2014/fundraiser/Dasandov

About Corazon de Vida Foundation

Since 1994, Corazón de Vida (“CDV”) has been supporting children that are orphaned, abandoned or neglected, living in orphanages in Baja, Mexico.  These orphanages represent a better alternative to living on the streets or under dangerous and abusive circumstances.  There is no government support for these orphanages, as Mexico does not have the same child welfare systems that exist in the US.

CDV’s focus is to provide life-sustaining support as well as hope, compassion and love. CDV not only financially supports orphanages in Baja, but also provides assistance through frequent cross-border visits by board members, staff, and volunteers.

We believe that every child’s life is valued and holds the same potential, excitement and opportunity as any other life. It is up to us to work together to make sure our care transforms into each child’s hope for the future.  Carlos is a great example of how volunteers can make a difference and help transform the lives of the children and in turn transform their own lives.

Hilda Pacheco-Taylor, Hilda@corazondevida.org, (949) 476-1144 x 3.

Volunteer feedback: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/corazon-de-vida-foundation

Join us on a trip to visit the kids! http://www.corazondevida.org/trips-events

 

November 4, 2013

Official Charity Highlight: Featured Charities — Train 4 Autism & Students Run LA

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Featured Charity: Train 4 Autism
Featured Charity: Students Run LA

Train 4 AutismTrain 4 Autism is dedicated to bringing together a community of athletes, physically active, and socially conscious people who are committed to raising awareness and funds for research and treatment for those living with Autism and their families. Fund raising and volunteer opportunities for individual athletes, teams and entire families include cycling, walks, triathlons, swimming, and running events.

Today, there are many treatment centers and research programs doing vital work, and carrying different yet important messages and missions. Train 4 Autism provides the infrastructure, technology, and support for participants to raise funds and contribute to these programs.

Featured Runner – Parent Jeanine Gaston  & First time Marathoner

Why am I running the ASICS LA Marathon 2014? Because I’m crazy? No, because I love someone with Autism. I started walking in early 2011 to raise money and awareness for Autism. My first half marathon was that same year. I’ve since completed 8 halves now, running most of them. I’m happy to say I’m not the same person I was when I started this adventure. Running has been a great release for me. It’s not easy, but makes me feel good about me and the reason I run. My reason will be 16 years old when I run LA. His name is Logan and he is one of the bravest young men I know. Logan is high functioning autistic. He is smart, funny, and handsome. I see sides of him that many people don’t get to see. Logan is not very social, and has had to deal with kids making fun of him and being bullied. It’s gotten better as he gets older. He is learning ways to cope. I’m taking on his attitude for the marathon. I figure to run 26.2 miles will not be easy for me, but neither is life walking in Logan’s shoes. If he can deal with Autism every day of his life I can train and learn to deal with pain for 26.2 miles. My run will be 100% for Logan. It’s why I run. My bib will say just that, too, “4 Logan.”

Join us or Donate at Train 4 Autism

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Students Run LA…Training For A Marathon…Training For LifeSRLA Photo

25 years running! Since 1989, SRLA has trained more than 51,000 middle and high school youth from all over the greater LA area, to prepare them to complete the ASICS LA Marathon. While running is the core activity of the program, SRLA students learn that hard work, discipline, and perseverance lead to success, both at the marathon and in life.

SRLA’s success is both staggering and a tradition! Every year, more than 90% of the students who attempt the marathon complete it. In March 2013, 99% of our 3,184 SRLA runners did so! Even more impressively, every year, more than 90% of the seniors who run the ASICS LA Marathon with SRLA graduate from high school. In June 2013, 99% of our 693 seniors did so! 

This season over 3200 students will run with teachers at their school who volunteer to train with and mentor them. The students are active ten hours a week, on average, and learn to love running and being physically active. SRLA must raise $300 per student and what that buys is priceless…

Bartolo at Manual Arts HS wrote “My involvement in Students Run LA has set me apart from bad influences and it has influenced me in getting better grades.”

Daniel at Santa Monica HS wrote, “While participating in Students Run LA I have lost weight…I have also become a leader to my sisters as I run with them weekly and push them to hopefully have them complete a marathon.”

Michelle at Aspire Pacific Academy wrote “I really liked the fact that running helped me clear my thoughts, and it also helped me release frustration and pain that had accumulated inside me.”

Be a part of the celebration of 25 YEARS RUNNING! With your generous contributions, our students will become marathoners, graduates, and productive members of our community!

Go to www.srla.org for information on hot to get involved and how you can sponsor one of our student runners to complete the ASICS LA Marathon, or contact Nikki Carelli at (818) 654-3360 and nikki@srla.org.

November 4, 2013

Official Charity Highlight: Featured Charities — Kitten Rescue & Fulfillment Fund

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Featured Charity: Kitten Rescue
Featured Charity: Fulfillment Fund

Kitten RescueHelp Kitten Rescue save homeless animals!

Kitten Rescue is a volunteer run, no-kill animal rescue organization whose mission is to advocate for abandoned cats of Los Angeles through rescue, rehabilitation and placement. As one of the largest rescue groups in Los Angeles we place approximately 1000 cats (and some dogs) into loving homes every year.  Since our inception, Kitten Rescue has placed over 14000 animals and helped many more lead better lives through our community programs. Most of our animals are fostered, but we also have a sanctuary where we house approximately 150 special needs cats. We currently care for over 1500 animals.

You can help Kitten Rescue save more homeless animals by running or walking the ASICS LA Marathon, Charity Relay or LA Big 5K! 

All participants will receive a Team Kitten Rescue shirt just for signing up! Marathon and Charity Relay participants can enjoy a Dodger Suite on race day along with our family reunion hotel room at the end of the race. Being a part of Team Kitten Rescue is an awesome experience. You will meet fellow animal lovers and athletes. We will have team meet and greets, group fundraisers and a team wrap party at the end of it all to celebrate your achievement! To see what Team Kitten Rescue is all about watch our video from last years’s marathon here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ztn-hQA9f1s

We will help you fundraise! For more information about Team Kitten Rescue and fundraising incentives visit our website at http://www.kittenrescue.org/index.php/event/la-marathon-2014/

To sponsor Team Kitten Rescue in the 2014 ASICS LA Marathon go to http://www.crowdrise.com/teamkittenrescue2014

For more information on how to join our team and get our special invitation code contact our Team Coordinator at lamarathon@kittenrescue.org.

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Fulfillment

Meet David, a 3rd time runner with Team Fulfillment Fund

David Hughes first became involved with the Fulfillment Fund by volunteering as a mentor. In this role, David helped guide a student through the path to high school graduation and into college.

After his experience as a mentor, David sought other ways to get involved and eventually joined the Leadership Council. Currently, David is President of the Leadership Council. Under his guidance, the Leadership Council has not only grown in size, but its support for the Fulfillment Fund has also grown.

For David, however, running the ASICS LA Marathon is not just about the money that it raises. “Team Fulfillment Fund fully embodies the core mission of The Fund,” says David Hughes. “By realizing our personal dreams of running the ASICS LA Marathon, we help our students realize their collective dreams of achieving a college education and being successful in their careers to help break the cycle of missed opportunity holding back so many kids in our community.  I can’t wait to run my 4th ASICS LA Marathon and 3rd with Team Fulfillment Fund.”

Team Fulfillment Fund

The Fulfillment Fund’s Leadership Council began fielding an ASICS LA Marathon team two years ago.  Team Fulfillment Fund returns for a third time in the 2014 ASICS LA Marathon, poised to grow participation and dollars raised to make college a reality for more students.  In 2013, the team was 72 members strong, made up of runners from all levels completing both the full marathon and relay events.  To our members, the ASICS LA Marathon has become a catalyst for action, with $56,000 raised by the team last year.

The Fulfillment Fund

The Fulfillment Fund is one of LA’s most successful educational non-profit organizations, making the dream of college a reality for Angelenos for over 35 years. Offering a college prep curriculum, mentorships, scholarships and support, the Fulfillment Fund provides college access to students, the majority of whom are the first in their families to pursue higher education.

To learn more, join our team or donate, please visit:  www.fulfillment.org/marathon or contact marathon@fulfillment.org

November 4, 2013

Official Charity Highlight: Premier Charities — Lupus LA

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Premiere Charity: Lupus LA

2013 5K and Marathon 342014 will mark the 5th year that Team Lupus LA has been participating in the ASICS LA Marathon. Formerly known as Team Life Without Lupus, Team Lupus LA has a new look and a new attitude! Lupus LA is proud to be a premier charity of the ASICS LA Marathon and uses this wonderful community event as a way to spread awareness.

Team Lupus LA is a group of walkers and runners who are dedicated to the important cause of raising awareness and funds for lupus patients and research. We provide our team with free training by certified trainers, fun incentives, and lots of encouragement along the way. Each year the team continues to grow and we hope that you will consider joining us! Team Lupus LA participates in the 5K, Charity Relay, and the marathon.

You may or may not know someone who has lupus. You may not even know what lupus is! But chances are that someone close to you may know all too well. Lupus affects 1.5 million Americans, and over 60,000 people in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Yet, because of the complexities surrounding a lupus diagnosis, many individuals choose to hide their illness.

A big part of Lupus LA’s mission is to spread awareness about this chronic, incurable disease, and to help give a voice to lupus patients everywhere. Lupus is more prevalent than AIDS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, sickle-cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. It can affect any organ in the body, and is the leading cause of kidney disease, stroke and premature cardiovascular disease in young women. To learn more about lupus, please visit our website: www.lupusla.org.

In addition to raising awareness, Lupus LA raises funds for its patient services programs, local rheumatology fellowships and research partner, the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) – the world’s leading private supporter of innovative research in lupus.

If you would like to join the fun and support Team Lupus LA, please email Megan Hatch, Special Events Manager, at mhatch@lupusla.org. For more information about our programs, including support groups and patient conferences, please contact the Lupus LA office at 310-657-5667.

October 25, 2013

Official Charity Highlight: Featured Charities — Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Featured Charity: Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Hirshberg Foundation-Jonathan_Charity HighlightIn 2013 the Hirshberg Foundation had its largest training team to date at the LA Marathon. Team member Jonathan Moerschel describes his story of resilience.

I came across the Hirshberg Foundation’s LA Cancer Challenge in 2010 and knew right away that I had to get involved. It was the first time I found an organization that was dedicated solely to pancreatic cancer.  I ran my first 5k that year, the longest distance I’d run in my life. It was an emotional experience for me as I thought about why I was running and raising money for the foundation.  My first wife Eugenie lost her brave battle in 2003 after fighting the disease for 5 years. She was a wonderful pianist, my best friend and my musical partner. It felt really good to finally be able to do something to help in the fight against cancer.  Little did I know that running that 5k back in 2010 would lead me to do something I vowed I would never do: run a marathon. 

I began training for the 2012 event and after our first training run I realized I had a lot of work to do! I also realized I was getting involved with a really great group of people.  We had great support and encouragement from everyone at Hirshberg and from our coaches.  

The outpouring of support from the volunteers who lined the streets really helped keep my spirits up.  Approaching the Foundation’s Purple Cheer Station at Mile 21 with dozens of cheering supporters in purple clothes was an extraordinary experience that brought tears to my eyes.  That moment was a reminder of my loss, but also a beacon of hope for the future of those that are fighting cancer. Running the marathon for pancreatic cancer gives the experience real purpose for me.       

I know that while I am sore and tired, it is a small sacrifice if I can help make a difference for someone in the future.  I am very proud to be a member of the Hirshberg Training Team and run the LA Marathon in memory of Eugenie, and in support of pancreatic cancer research.

Founded in 1997, The Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing pancreatic cancer research, and providing information, resources, and support to pancreatic cancer patients and their families.

Contact: Sarah Banks, Development Coordinator (310) 473-5121 sbanks@pancreatic.org  or visit www.hirshbergtrainingteam.com

October 23, 2013

Official Charity Highlight: Premier Charities — ThinkCure!

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Premiere Charity: ThinkCure!

ThinkCure!, the official charity of the Los Angeles Dodgers, funds cancer research that enables researchers at  City of Hope and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to cooperate on the most promising research efforts to fight cancer. Without public support, however, they can’t work together on research that will change lives and eliminate cancer.

Today, nearly one hundred families in Los Angeles will learn that a loved one has cancer. We want one hundred marathon and half-marathon participants to help us show those families that we all care about them and to raise funds for collaborative cancer research done right here in Los Angeles. Or, join one of our forty teams to walk or run in the Big 5K to honor the nearly forty people every day in Los Angeles who die from cancer.

ThinkCure! is working together for cancer-free family reunions now with City of Hope and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

According to Drs. Stuart Siegel and Stephen J,  Forman, respectively from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and City of Hope, “The National Cancer Institute  now funds less than 10% of worthy  cancer research grants. Our institutions are eager to work together to eliminate cancer among adults and children, but we rely on support from ThinkCure! to help  make this research happen”.

Please help us help scientists at these great local institutions undertake cooperative research which will otherwise go undone. Imagine a family reunion where cancer isn’t invited. As the official charity of the Los Angeles Dodgers, ThinkCure! believes that, just as Dodger baseball unites families and our community, so, too, can our fight against cancer right here in Los Angeles.

October 22, 2013

Official Charity Highlight: Premier Charities — The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training

Take a closer look at one of the ASICS LA Marathon’s Official Charities!
Premiere Charity: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training

Bruce and Georgia 08SAVING LIVES TODAY

In 1988, Bruce Cleland had no idea the kind of impact he was about to have on the lives of people with blood cancer.

Cleland formed a team to train for and complete the New York City Marathon while raising funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in honor of his daughter, Georgia, who had been diagnosed at the age of two with acute myeloid leukemia (ALL), the most common form of cancer to afflict children.

“I was trying to get past the helplessness and fear I felt as a result of my daughter’s deadly diagnosis. When Georgia was diagnosed, the five-year survival rate was only a shocking 60 percent. A desire to help her, and others like her was my fuel,” said Cleland. “Day after day it literally got me up on my feet, out on the road and eventually over the finish line along with my wonderful TNT teammates.”

Cleland and his team raised a remarkable $322,000 for LLS. 25 years, over $1.3 billion raised and more than half of a million participants later, Team In Training (TNT) athletes continue Cleland’s desire to help others like Georgia by funding life-saving cancer research and patient services.

Georgia’s story is the embodiment of LLS’s mission. Now 29 and cancer-free, Georgia completed three TNT half-marathons in 2012 and just recently completed her fourth with her three siblings, who like their father and so many others are committed to raising funds and striving to change the landscape of blood cancer.

 Fundraise with the TEAM: Energized by LLS, TNT has one goal: a world without blood cancers. Fundraising mentors and staff will be with you all the way to guide you through the fundraising experience.

Train with the TEAM: Be a part of the powerful force of athletes that are bringing us closer than ever to cures for many kinds of blood cancers. Nutrition, hydration and injury prevention clinics are all a part of the program and certified coaches will get you to the finish line.

Cures Today. Not Someday. That’s the goal. Visit www.teamintraining.org or call 800.482.TEAM to register today.

LLS  is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to curing blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS exist to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. www.lls.org

 

November 27, 2012

Official Charity Highlight: Premiere Charity – Team World Vision

Take a closer look at one of the LA Marathon’s Official Charities! Premiere Charity: Team World Vision

Team World Vision

The Journey
by John Huddle

When I was ten years old, I was an angry kid – kicking in doors and punching out windows and generally driving my mother, sister and father crazy.  My father served at a church on the campus of the University of Illinois.  By the time I was twelve, my anger issues had really isolated me, and I’d taken to sitting in the grass outside the church after service.  It seemed like the world would walk past me without saying hello; but when Nephat would see me, he’d stop, drop onto the grass, and smile.  Nephat was a graduate student from Nairobi, Kenya.  He’d look me in the eye and his body language and tone of voice made it clear that he wanted to be with me and hear about my journey.

Nephat made such a strong impression on me that years later, after finding help with my anger through prayer, I, too, became a student at the University of Illinois.  I minored in Africa Studies and studied Swahili as my foreign language.  I wanted to give back.  I never imagined that running a marathon with Team World Vision could do more good than if I went to Africa myself.

This video “The Journey” tells the story of how a first-time runner (me) ran the LA Marathon to change lives in Africa by providing access to clean water.   $50 donated through World Vision will provide one person with water for life.  For the longest time, when I thought about “dirty water”, I’d think about the look and the taste.  But for the people we run for, it’s the grueling search and the threat of violence and disease that dominates their lives .

Growing up, Nephat spent ten to twelve hours every day fetching dirty water, putting himself at risk of violence – even kidnapping – and putting his family at risk of malaria, guinea worm and dysentery.  When our runners fundraise and a community gains access to clean water, we stop that cycle.  Children no longer fetch for ten hours a day – they’re in school.  Parents are free to start businesses and tend farms.  My sponsored child, Eva, just sent me a picture of herself holding her first Kiswahili text book.  Last month her local leaders developed a clean water source and she is finally in school!  Eva had been walking on average 30 kilometers a day – three 10Ks – for dirty water.  But now that search is over!

Team World Vision empowers people like me – a guy who hadn’t run two miles since high school – to take on a physical challenge for the sake of others in need. We have training groups throughout Southern California who support each other in training and in their desire to do something about poverty.

Join us on this incredible journey.

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SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2014