See them Run


seethemrunI went to a presentation last night, put on by the Vancouver chapter of Room to Read. The presentation was about one young woman (22) and two men (19 and 26) who recently spent four and a half months in Africa, running the equivalent of 100 marathons over 125 days. By gathering $100 donations for every kilometre, they managed to raise a whole bunch of money for Room to Read and Athletes for Africa (I am not sure how much they have raised, but they did present Room to Read with a cheque for $40,000).

The young woman, Erin van Wiltenburg, almost had me crying twice, talking about what the “haves” can do for the “have nothing-at-alls”. She quoted James Orbinski a few times, which is funny because I just started reading his book. Her overall message was essentially that, as complicated and politicized as the issues can be, it is better to do something than to do nothing – her ‘something’ was to run. She had some pretty jarring stats about how much clean water and sanitation could be provided with the money spent on ice cream in Europe each summer – or how much health care could be provided with the money spent on cosmetics in North America (don’t quote me on these. I am going on memory here – but you get the idea).


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