Freshman Forum: Walk a mile for more than exercise

What is it about a charity run that inspires people to go out and donate their time and energy? Is it the fact that they can participate in this activity with friends? Maybe the fact that it’s for a good cause? Is it personal for some runners? Or could it simply be a good workout opportunity? Whatever the motive is, running or walking in these sponsored charity walks is a great way to show that you care.

There are many of these events that go on at Rider University, such as the Stomping Out Stigma Run/Walk, which just this week brought awareness to mental health issues. This weekend will feature the Turkey Trot, which donates food to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. In March, Rider will host Relay for Life, during which money is raised for the American Cancer Society.

Freshman John Tees recently walked in the 5K Lung Cancer Walk in Philadelphia, a walk very close to his heart.

“My grandfather died of lung cancer in 2008. It is very important to me because of the bond my grandfather and I shared,” he said.

Everyone has their own personal reasons to join these causes. In Tee’s case, he had personal experience, and is determined to help benefit the cause. If you know of someone who had cancer in your family, has a mental illness or possibly someone poor and hungry, why not stand up and be a voice for them? Acknowledge that you know someone in that situation and stand up for him or her.

I feel more people should participate in these events so they know what is happening in the world. For instance, the Stomping Out Stigma Run/Walk is meant to raise awareness for those who are mentally ill. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, “The U.S. Surgeon General reports that 10 percent of children and adolescents in the United States suffer from serious emotional and mental disorders that cause significant functional impairment in their day-to-day lives at home, in school and with peers.”

Also, as stated by The National Coalition for the Homeless, “Homelessness is a widespread and very serious issue that affects a diverse population.” This is something we’re trying to help by doing the Turkey Trot. According to a 2006 study by the United States Conference of Mayors, 42 percent of homeless people were African American, 39 percent were Caucasian, 13 percent were Hispanic, 4 percent were Native American and 2 percent were Asian. Families also were affected, accounting for 30 percent of the homeless population. As you can see, homelessness doesn’t limit itself to one group of people.

Another reason why people should participate in charity walk/runs is the benefit of exercise. I haven’t been running in about four months and I miss it badly, so I decided to participate in the Stomping Out Stigma race as well as the one-mile run for the Turkey Trot. However, I don’t plan to do this by myself. I asked my friends to come out and walk with me. When you do this with your friends, you don’t feel so alone in the process.

So, come out to these walks. Support and raise awareness for a good cause and burn off some Daly’s food in the process.

– Neil Rasbury

Freshman journalism major

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