A New Reason to Run

My friend recently gave me a shirt that says, “I run so I can eat.” She knows me so well!  I’ve never quite understood why anyone would endure the horrors of running for any reason other than indulging in guilt-free calories . . . with extra cheese . . . and a side of fries. Oh yeah, and make it a regular Coke. And can I add a milkshake?

Well, on December 1st I started training for the Gasparilla Half Marathon taking place in Tampa this February. But this time I’m not running to eat. I’m running for freedom.

Did you know that approximately 35.8 million men, women, and children worldwide have been trafficked into a life of modern-day slavery (source: http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/findings/)? My home state of Florida is considered third in the nation in sex trafficking, labor trafficking and domestic servitude. What I didn’t realize until recently is that my own city (including the greater Tampa Bay area) is a top destination nationwide for traffickers.  What breaks my heart the most are the stories of young women who are lured and then trapped into a life of prostitution with no hope of escape. On no less than four different occasions I have sat down and tried to watch a relatively “mild” documentary on sex-trafficking. The stories the women tell are so disturbing that I’ve never been able to get all the way through it. Those stories haunt me. Those stories literally happen every day….right where we live.

Thankfully, there are individuals and organizations that work tirelessly to end the horrors of modern day slavery. And that’s where the whole half-marathon idea started for me….

For a few years now my local Christian radio station, the Joy FM, has been coordinating a group called “Team Freedom” to run for the purpose of raising money and awareness for Hope for Justice. Hope for Justice is a not-for-profit organization that exists to end human trafficking and slavery in our generation. Every year as I’ve listened to the station promote “Team Freedom” I’ve thought to myself, “I should do that.” Well, this is the year I am finally burdened enough to actually do it!


Got to run with some of the team Saturday!

My goal is to raise $2000.00 by January 15th. There’s only a few days left and I’m just a little over halfway there. I really need your help! A donation of ANY amount would be a huge blessing and serve as the perfect motivation  for me to keep on track with training and finish strong. More than that, it would enable Hope for Justice to continue to bring hope, healing, and FREEDOM to countless men, women, and children throughout the world who are trapped in a life of modern day slavery.

Before you decided whether or not to give, would you take a few minutes and watch this video? It explains what Hope for Justice is, how they operate, and the mission they work tirelessly to fulfill. (If you are reading this via email, you will need to click here to see the video or view this post on the blog.)

If you feel led to make a donation, you can do it here: www.classy.org/aprilesweers

If you kept on reading this even after you realized that I’m raising money, you are so very sweet. Thank you so much!

The next post will probably be a picture of me looking half-dead and REALLY happy that I survived 13.1 miles. 😉 And then someday soon, Lord willing, I’ll get back to blogging!


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