Sister Mary Beth and I at the end of the day

This past Sunday morning I had the honor of running with a nun! Sister Mary Beth is running 20 miles per day as one part of Running Hope Through America. Her friend Lisa Smith-Batchen is running 50 miles in all 50 states in two months. From April 19th to June 19th, 2010, they will cross the country, raising awareness and money for orphaned children in the US and around the world. The charities supported are:

  • The Orphan Foundation of America: Creates scholarship funds for teens aging out of the foster care system. This includes college scholarships, connecting with mentors and internships, and sending them care packages. Charity efficiency: 91 cents out of every dollar goes directly to support OFA programs and youth.
  • AIDS Orphans Rising: Supports children in multiple countries who have lost both parents to AIDS. “The program is unique in that it does more than just provide shelter and food to the orphans. The project teaches the oldest child the skills they need to be not only self-sufficient, but to be able to provide for their family while teaching the younger siblings in schools.”
  • The Caring House Project: The foundation’s primary objective is to provide housing, food, water, medical support and opportunity for the desperately homeless around the world.  It also helps to develop a system of self-sufficiency for these communities.

Who is Lisa Smith-Batchen?

Lisa Smith-Batchen is an Idaho resident and has been a top endurance athlete for at least the last 13+ years, completing nine Badwater Ultramarathons (135 mile race) and completed over 90 marathons. Lisa also is an advocate for orphaned children, using her talents to raise money and awareness for several charities. To date, Lisa has raised over 4.5 million dollars for charity. She was even personally invited to meet with Pope John Paul II in 2002 as thanks for the work she has done to support AIDS Orphans Rising.

Why 50 Miles in 50 States?

Lisa turns 50 this year and so decided running 50 miles in all 50 states would be a great challenge.

Our Experience

My husband started running with the group at 5:30am. My three year old son and I showed up about 8:30am and ran one loop, about 6 miles. I talked with Sister Mary Beth a little bit as we walked/jogged and it was such a joy. To be in the company of these two amazing women is to know goodness and spirit and dedication; they are passionate about helping children and it shows. I left to take my son home for a nap but returned later in the afternoon and ran another mile. My husband ended up running all 50 miles with Lisa, even though he had only planned on running 12 or so. It was such a powerful day and he wanted to support Lisa as she worked hard to get her 50 miles in that day in Dallas.

The three people on the right are Sister Mary Beth, my husband, and my son

Lisa (in purple), Sister Mary Beth, my husband and son, and part of the TX group

our son making himself at home with Lisa and Sister Mary Beth

our son, making himself at home with Lisa and Sister Mary Beth

coming in for the finish, my son joined them!

my son, Lisa, and my husband

Consider Walking/Running with Them

Running 50 miles a day is tough, physically and mentally, and they could use your help and support. If you live near one of their scheduled towns, please consider coming by for part of the day. Much of their pace is walking or slow jogging. You can also be there and go on your own at your own pace. I really recommend coming out for some of the day with your family to share in this great event.

Complete schedule

Consider Donating

Lisa’s goal for Running Hope Through America is to raise $1 million. Are you willing and able to help her help orphaned children? If so, please visit their donation page and give generously and with an open heart.

  • Donations are tax deductible
  • 100% of donations are dispersed among the three charities mentioned above

Since this is the year of ’50’ for Lisa, wouldn’t a contribution of $50 be great?! If you can give more, please do!

Lisa, my husband, Sister Mary Beth all done (for the day)

Dreamchaser Foundation’s Mission

The Dreamchaser Foundation was established in 2008 to encourage amateur and professional athletes alike to use their passion for sports for charitable ends. The Dreamchaser mission:

The Dreamchaser Foundation seeks to improve the lives of women and children from around the world. By empowering people to achieve their goals and dreams in athletics, the Dreamchaser Foundation raises public awareness of the hunger, exploitation, illness, and suffering of children around the world.

The Dreamchaser Foundation is dedicated to raising funds to help women and children in need survive and succeed, to improve the quality of their lives and dramatically change their future and the future of the next generation. We encourage athletes in all sports to fund raise while fulfilling their own dreams.

Help Children, Help the World

“How we treat the child, the child will treat the world.” – Pam Leo

Helping women and children is very important to us. You may know we are also big supporters of Hands to Hearts International, another organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged women and orphaned children around the world. If Lisa’s message and cause resonates with you, please consider getting involved however you are able. Together we can achieve so much more than we can alone.

Wendy –

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