Editor's Note: Our friend Paul Shippey will soon be running his dream race in Boston, but he's not just doing it for himself. Paul's also raising money to help the orphans in Haiti. His story and reason for running are below:
The earthquake that devastated Haiti continues to bring untold suffering and misery to the people of Haiti, and in particular, the orphan population which more than quadrupled overnight!
I have been fortunate to have first hand contact with some newly adopted children through my friend Elizabeth Dowling, whose newly adopted daughter Jenna, was featured on CNN shortly after the quake struck! ( CNN video links below)
Elizabeth worked tirelessly to get a bunch of little ones, including Jenna, back to their new homes in the US in the days after the quake. The good news is that the incredible work of the two sisters from Pittsburgh, Jamie and Ali, who ran the orphanage, continues. They recently returned to Haiti to start work on building a new orphanage for the homeless children. The new facility will be called Nuovo Vilaj (which is Creole for 'new home').
Jamie and Ali ran the old (and now devastated orphanage) without any form of salary, so they basically worked for free! Incredible people doing incredible things for others. They remind me of two young Mother Theresa's. It was Mother Theresa who said :
- Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.
On April 19 this year, I plan to join 25,000 inspired athletes on the start line of the 114th Boston Marathon. Instead of simply focusing on how fast I can run the 26.2 miles, I am inspired to run to help raise money for the construction of the new orphanage. I have been so touched by spending time with Jenna and seeing her rapid progress and development since she left Haiti on a military transport plane, and I want to continue to contribute in some way!
It was thanks to the work that Ali and Jamie did that Jenna not only survived the quake, but has this amazing chance to be integrated into normal society. The sisters intend to house and care for up to 75 children from ages 0- 12. They will provide them with education, healthcare and the love and attention they have always provides their kids. To make this happen they need to raise $500,000 in funds and in-kind donations. They are currently working with architects, land developers and organizations to build a sustainable, child-friendly community.
I will continue to update you all on the progress and the money we raised via this blog site during the course of the year.
Here is CNN footage of Jenna and the old orphanage. Anderson Cooper and his team took quite a liking to Ms Jenna!
*To help raise money please visit Paul's blog HERE.