Run for a life
We ran…they ran. Together we ran to save the life of a child. Together we asked the question what if? 472 children didn’t die every day in Kenya from diseases that can be prevented…
On November 5, 2011 Partners for Care held its third annual run. Charity runs in the US are common…but this run was different. While runners were running in Brook Run Park in Dunwoody at 8:00 in the morning, Kenyan runners were running through Marurui Village on dirt roads at 3.00 in the afternoon. All the funds raised go to support the work of the Partners for Care staff in Kenya. Just like us here, the Kenyan team had worked for months to organize their race. Many in Kenya were doubtful PFC could really organize a run.
Here runners ran for beautiful Kenya handmade soapstone bowls…in Kenya the children ran for pencils and notebook paper for school. Here runners ran through a beautiful archway as the finish line, there they ran over a rope laid on the ground. Here every runner had shoes – nice shoes like Nike. There some of the youth ran without shoes – not by choice but because they don’t have running shoes. We ran 5K, they ran 8K.
But, though there were differences the joy and excitement of the runners and those who organized the runs were the same. The pictures from the US run are posted on www.partnersforcare.org. Below you can see the story of the Kenyan run through their photos and here is Sam’s report about the run…I hope it touches you heart like it did mine.
We had 60 runners register with 47 actually running in the race – 5 women, 8 children and 34 men. The oldest was 30 years old, the youngest 6 years old. The overall winner was 24 years old.
We had spent months planning the run. It was difficult to get sponsors and people to support the run as people weren’t sure we could actually organize a run in the slum area of Marurui. It was the first run ever in Marurui and Kasarani region, and many critics said it was the most successful event after the tournaments we held earlier this year. They said we’ve opened the door for more runs and marathons to come, as no one saw the run succeeding until they saw it happen. It was also good awareness for our programs as the runners ran by the United States International University (USIU) where so many students had come out to see the runners pass by.
Next time we expect many more runners, people are already asking when the next run will be. Many were afraid to register as they weren’t sure if it would succeed, but now they’re more willing to participate. Individuals are also coming forward asking how they can participate in the next run, through sponsorships and other aspects.
Here are some highlights:
Agnes, Anastasia’s daughter (remember Anastasia is the woman who has been blinded by a brain tumor) came in 2nd in the women’s category, running without shoes. She’s in our volleyball program, computer class and 2nd Chance.
Esther, another one of our volleyball player. She came in 3rd in the women’s category, and her mom was there to congratulate her and receive the prize on her behalf. Her and her mom were in tears when they were called to receive the prize. Her mom said she’d never been that proud of her daughter. Esther and Agnes had vowed to do the volleyball and what if? program as a whole proud, which they did.
Stella, another one of our volleyball player came in 1st in the children’s category, and when she received the top prize she refused to open it until she got home so that they could open it together with her mom. She had promised her mom to do her proud. She ran the whole 8kms or so and finished first. Justus hugged her as she crossed the finish line. She was in tears also when she finished, she couldn’t believe she came in first. It was the biggest day of her life then when she ran towards the finishing line and everyone was clapping and shouting, motorbikes hooting and applauding her all the way from the matatu stage. (I also teared up when I saw her cross the finish line).
It was an amazing run, the team did a commendable job and I’ve never been more proud of every team member for their participation in the planning and implementation processes.
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