Sunday, 11 December 2016

Monsters Amongst Us

Monster: a person of unnatural or extreme ugliness, deformity, wickedness, or cruelty.

In high school I attended a party with a set of friends different than my close ones. A young man I knew was holding court, that is, he had a few people around him and was telling a story. I walked over to hear what he was saying. I heard a description of an event in which he forced himself on a young woman who tried to fight off his advances. As he explained the woman`s reaction the man was laughing. I punched him in the mouth, left him on the floor, and left the party. Later on the young woman thanked me for what I had done.
Erin Van Vuren
"Every monster has a sob story, be careful who you help."
Sixteen years ago my oldest daughter was born. Two months later; out of five thousand people I was one of twelve picked to sit on a jury for a murder trial. Two young girls had their throats slit and had been left to die, eventually they bleed to death alone in an industrial parking lot. One had been sexually assaulted. I was elected foreman and had to face the girls assailant and read aloud the guilty verdict.

Ten years ago I heard about the forced prostitution of young Cambodian girls, especially upsetting to me was hearing of how many men from the western world went to take advantage of the girls.

This week a link to a facebook feed frightened me. It was from a Cambodia newspaper and mentioned the arrest of a Dutch man, and the search for another man. In spite of my fear I clicked on the article and read about the horrific abuse of a two year old boy by these men. The boy had been sexually assaulted and had been subjected to a stun gun on various parts of his body. Many on facebook were obviously shocked, and upset. Many comments were made of what should be done to the perpetrators, many comments of concern and prayer were offered up for the boy.
What disturbed me the most of this story was that these assaults were video taped. One of the assailants was caught with 46 videos.
It is one thing to think of a few sick individuals, it is a totally different thing to think of the market for this type of video and where the men who view it may live?
Some may be my neighbours, and the only thing stopping this type of person from acting out their sickness is their fear of law and order.

What do I or can I do with this knowledge? I reinforce my prayer for a hedge of protection around me, my loved ones, and my friends and their families. 
I will continue to run, for running has taken the place of my fist and in a way that only God could orchestrate has become a voice for abused people.
I picked todays race months ago and wondered why? It is extremely difficult. It is not a marathon, but I find it harder to finish than some longer distance races I have run. It is 10.8 km straight up two hills. The only time it is fun is at the finish. To make the race harder is that it is snowing, and the huge hills are slick with snow and ice.

Today I ran for the two year old boy in Cambodia I will never meet. I dedicated these hills to him. I will not stop. I pray that those around him never stop their therapy, their love, their support, their donations, their prayer, and their tears until he meets the only One who can give him complete healing. As I start up the first hill I think of these words from Mark Buchanan in one of his books: ( I changed the writing from female to male)

"I sat one day with a young man who had a desolate past, a blighted landscape of childhood neglect and sexual abuse. As he poured out his story I sat speechless. His past was beyond repair, at least on my watch. But God showed me he still had his future. And it was vast, unbroken, pristine, radiant. It was pure promise: a glory that would be revealed in him, a glory that far outweighed his troubles.  Some days his past mounts it`s best attempts to reclaim him for it`s own. He has learned to keep taking hold of his citizenship in heaven. He has learned to refuse surrender for anything else. His past was a tragedy to lament. But his future is an epic to anticipate. Which is simply to say: what will happen matters more than what has happened."

Though I live amongst monsters. I will continue my work. I serve a God who one day will devour all monsters.


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Heavy Times

I have been told by a friend they think I write as a form of therapy for myself.
During my summer trip to Croatia I saw two images of lasting change. The first is from Postajna cave in Slovenia

The guide told us how over time tiny drops of water have worked  through the rock creating this beautiful picture.

These are mountains in Rijeka, Croatia. The Roman empire occupied Croatia for a time, and during that time they stripped these mountains of all the trees. More than 2000 years later the land is still barren.

A few weeks ago my elbow hit a glass on the kitchen counter knocking it unto the floor, the glass shattered in a million pieces, to a million places.

These three images got me thinking of the lasting impact each individual has during their time on earth.

Choosing to harm others is represented by the Croatian mountains. Harming someone takes away their beauty, their self confidence, their trust, sometimes their ability to function. Cruel acts impact the victim, their family, and all of society. These acts have consequences felt centuries later.

Choosing to help others is like the caves and the broken glass example. The water does not know the effect of it`s dripping unto the rock. The glass I broke ended up in hundreds of different spots in my kitchen, some clustered, some by themselves in tiny corners far away from the counter. That is what doing good for the right reasons is all about. Our help has an immediate effect, but it also has a multiplying effect we will never truly fully understand. That is good, for we are prone to pride.

What do Sia, Matthew West, and Lady Gaga have in common? Recently a song from each of them touched me on a personal level.

I recently finished a half marathon race in a surprisingly respectable time.

It was the 373 fastest half marathon ran in Ontario in 2016. Some rolling hills took a lot out of me from the 13 to 16 kilometer mark. In one week  I will run a race called The Egg Nog Jog which is only 10.8 kilometers but is all uphill. Hills have always appealed to me in that I feel they represent the daily challenge faced by victims of sexual abuse. In that, the victims are starting each day at the bottom of a steep hill. For me climbing hills builds strength, endurance, power, and confidence. I pray that the victims I run for are granted these qualities when they need them most.

Sia The Greatest

Uh-oh running out of breath, but I 
Oh I, got stamina
Uh-oh running now, I close my eyes
And uh-oh I see another mountain to climb
But I, I, I got stamina
Don`t give up, I won`t give up
Don`t give up, no, no, no
Don`t give up, I won`t give up
Don`t give up, no, no, no
Your free to be the greatest, Your alive
Your free to be the greatest, here tonight, the greatest

It is a broken world we live in. So many people are suffering today. Lately my eyes have been opened to many problems I have been ignorant of.  A sampling: PTSD  by Military personal once they get back to civilization. The poor treatment of Native Indians in the past and present, and the highly disproportionate number of young native girls trafficked into the sex trade. The high rate of depression, mental health issues, and suicides by teens. PTSD by victims of repeated sexual abuse, especially when occurring as children.

Lady Gaga Million Reasons

I bow down to pray
I try to make the worst seem better
Lord, show me the way
To cut through all this worn out leather
I`ve got a million reasons to walk away
But baby, I just need one good reason to stay

In less than five months on April 30 I will run my ninth marathon, The Waterloo Marathon.  Like last year when I ran from Mississauga to Buffalo I have another long journey planned to get me to my marathon. I will run/walk 97 km from Mississauga to Waterloo in one day. I have four months of increasingly hard training ahead of me. Mentally I have been a bit off lately, I am weary of the things that are evil in this world. I wonder about what Heaven will be like?  I think there will be a disproportionate number of women there as compared to men. People who run marathons are not smart, they are determined. Sometimes they need encouragement and to be shown one reason to stay.

Driving to work this past Sunday I hear this song on the radio. It speaks to me in that there are many problems in the world, I do believe at a later time I will try to tackle some of the issues I mentioned above. For now I have been called to try and correct one; that is Ratanak International and it`s work in Cambodia of giving back dignity to victims of trafficking.

Matthew West Do Something

I just couldn`t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said "God, why don`t You do something?"
He said, "I did, I created you."



Sunday, 25 September 2016

Two Animals. Two Worlds.

It has been a while. Since my last writing I have had many thoughts and ideas. To take the time to finish a writing I guess I needed a       push. The push came in the form of spending time in the company   of a great man. A man who has dedicated 27 years with his               blood sweat and tears in trying to bring healing to the most               vulnerable in a Country not his own. This Saturday I sat    and  listened  as Brian McConaghy                                                                                                                           ian  founding                                                                                      Director of                                                          Ratanak   
                               International spoke of his life trying to help those in Cambodia. This past Summer my family vacationed in Croatia. My "bed" the first night was two air mattresses pushed together. For some reason I  ended up in the middle of the mattresses on the hard floor. I thought of stories of people born in other Countries who immigrated to Canada had told me. These people love Canada, but they feel Canada is not their real home. These people also love their former Country but when they go back to visit , things have changed so much they feel this is also not home. Later on that sleepless night I thought of my two homes. Earth is my present one, one where to many problems persist. I fear the news, I fear stories, for my present home is full of despair, and heart break.  Heaven by God`s grace is my future home. No wonder so many people are unhappy on earth, this is not how it was supposed to be. The best night in Croatia also had the most pain. Through social media a party was set up for a family who had not seen each other in thirty years. It was one of the nicest experiences of my life. Watching family members embrace, laugh, sing, and cry was priceless. Partway through my dinner my youngest Daughter through tears tells me "there is a sick dog outside." Off I go, as we approach the dog it collapses. My immediate reaction is anger  God I think "Why now? Why this dog? Why my Daughter?  Why me? Why of all nights tonight?" I put my hands on the dog and pray for God to have mercy on this poor creature. Realising my Daughter`s heart has made this my problem I start to act. I smuggle bread and water out of the restaurant. The poor dog eats and drinks quite a lot. Seeing it trying to move brings tears to both of  our eyes, as we see it`s obvious pain. Patting and praying for the dog is all we are able to do. When it gets dark, the dog seems to sleep and we go back inside the restaurant. Izzy asks me about the dog and I tell her "unless God performs a miracle, this dog has hours to live. We did our best to show it love, and filled it`s last hours with comfort and dignity."  A few nights later at a different restaurant our family has another visitor. I notice both daughter`s looking very guilty and realise they are giving their dinner to their visitor. The visitor is this kitten who somehow has made it to "Dr Dolittle." My family lingered over our dinner and enjoyed this beautiful surprise.
 During his visit Brian showed me one picture from his laptop. Before he showed it he talked of this girl`s life, she had been sent to another Country as a domestic servant (slave) and had been beaten many times before somehow escaping back to Cambodia. I was afraid of looking at a graphic picture of a young girl and the results of a beating. I was pleasantly surprised as a beautiful young girl looking radiant as she smiled for her picture looked back at me. Brian told us this young girl had thanked him and the Ratanak staff for showing her love. Looking at her picture I see a young woman who has a future, has hope and has had her dignity restored. It has been an honour to work with and support such an organization. An upcoming event is a celebration of the 5km walkathon, with a silent auction on October 26. Earth is full of stories and people like my experience with the "old dog." It is a fallen world with fallen people. These stories don`t wait for the right time to come to us.                     Yet God expects and allows us to be his hand`s and feet to such people, and though I do not like being exposed to such stories, that is life. Heaven is stories such as the young kitten, lovely, beautiful, and nice. Until Heaven comes God wants us to immerse ourselves in the stories like the old dog.


Thursday, 16 June 2016

Ratanak 2016 5km Walkathon

Is the glass half empty or half full?

Three weeks of insanity are over for me. In that time I ran 100 miles or 163 km from Mississauga to Buffalo. I than ran the full 26.2 mile or 42.2km Buffalo Marathon in near record heat. This is a shirt sold boasting of the temperature without the humidity. 
Last weekend I was part of a team that helped organize and coordinate the 5km walkathon at Erindale Park in Mississauga.
Looking back I realize how the month of March always seems to be a low point for me. Training for my spring marathon has me physically exhausted. Laying the ground work for the walkathon has me mentally exhausted. On a particular demanding day I wondered not for the first, and certainly not for the last would this be my final year?

The Friday before the walk my beautiful wife Gloria sent me a message about what Paul (co organizer) and myself were going to do about Saturday`s weather? I had stayed away from checking the weather as it is out of my control. Looking up the forecast I saw it called for severe weather between 5 am to 10 am. This was the worst possible forecast. The event is booked eight months in advance. We trust in God to give us the perfect day. Thinking about the possibility of lightning in a heavily wooded area with 140 participants was not a comforting thought.
Many people started praying. I would like to say I was unaffected, but that would be a lie. I checked the weather network many times during the day and was relieved in the evening when the forecast started changing a little. God as He always does came through. We had a very hot, humid day in which many times a participant would mention to me how hot it was. Compared to the original forecast I gladly accepted the humidity.

The day of the walk itself is always so positive! I lost track of how many times someone came up to me and thanked me for the event itself. I would in turn thank them for although I love my fellow volunteers of the Ratanak core group our walkathon would seem pretty hollow without the participants.

Jessika Mak is a symbol of me to what his day is all about. Her smile is contagious! She is passionate, compassionate, and driven to make a difference to those in Cambodia. She prayed for the event itself, and through her shaking voice and tears reminded us again of the agony the ones in Cambodia have endured and how it is a honour to be a part of something that alleviates this suffering.

For my speech I talked about the day June 11 in History and used examples of great events from the past that brought freedom on this day, as well as events that represented great acts of evil, and oppression. I mentioned how today many acts of good and evil would take place around the world and that is nice to take part in something positive that we may never truly know the full effect.  
I also mentioned how the world is always looking for individual heroes. This sometimes discourages regular people from becoming involved in some of the world`s problems, we think of the greatness of the problem compared to our limited skills and we do nothing.
In total I ran 205 km in five days. At the walkathon 140 people walked a total of 700 km in less than one hour.
Collectively a group of people can make a far larger impact than one individual.

Most participants took their time and enjoyed their walk through such a beautiful park. A 14 year old cross country runner blazed his way to first place, setting a new course record.
A Mississauga Councillor showed up and blessed our event on twitter. She also wants to give publicity to our future events in a forum I had never considered. Thank you Chris Fonseca.

At a core group meeting leading up to the walk I asked members to submit what they felt should be the financial goal of this walkathon. Most estimates were very conservative, one person said "whatever goal Larry sets we should follow."
As in the past I do set the goal. There is not a complicated process of charts, graphs, or trends. My thought process has been until we do not reach the goal we must raise the bar each year.
Last year I set the goal of $25 252 and somehow with God`s help we were able to surpass it.
This year I set the most aggressive goal ever $30 252. 
To date $18 000 has been raised with a possible huge donation to come in August.

Half empty or half full?
For me even if we do not raise another dollar the glass is full. At the walkathon I saw many new faces which encourages me for the future. 34 people who attended were 18 years of age or under, again these young people are the future. We gave our all and whatever the thermometer finally stops at is the number that God intended for us.
Many times in life we do not know how close to a major breakthrough we were approaching, but we quit. 
This is my triumphant picture of my recent Buffalo Marathon, taken in my Hotel room.

What this picture does not tell or show was one of the many moments in every marathon especially the one in Buffalo that I feel like quitting. I think of a sign held up in a recent race "pain is temporary, but quitting lasts forever."

This picture that was taken by a photographer in Buffalo captures a very tough moment when I wondered about continuing. At such moments whether in life or a marathon I remember a statement from Brian McConaghy many years ago. Brian talked about committing to the young women for Ratanak International programs. "We cannot accept a woman into our program and than turn her out before her healing is complete because the funding runs out." I took this as a personal challenge. I feel whatever I commit to I must finish; because if I don`t possibly the well being of a young woman is at stake.

I did not quit and my thoughts of March are long gone. I look forward to running two more marathons in hopefully cooler weather and also continuing to be a part of bringing freedom to those in Cambodia through our annual walkathon.



Saturday, 4 June 2016

Reverse Neil Boron

One week ago I finished my "reverse Neil Boron."  Which was a week in which I ran the 100 miles from Mississauga to Buffalo, and then ran the full Buffalo Marathon.
Physically it was the most I have ever challenged my body, and yet looking back I think I could have done a bit more. Sometimes I believe our minds are the only thing holding us back. We set limits based on our personal experiences and what the supposed experts tell us when to stop. Set your goals low for they are easily attained seems to be the thinking of today.

My first day I ran 19.0 miles or 30.6 km, I started in Mississauga and ended in Oakville. Early on the weight of my back pack was bothering me until I thought of the weight abused children must carry. I ran past two fields one vacant, one a prestigious golf course. I saw the dandelions as the children of the world who have suffered sexual abuse. We want them to go away so we can ignore their stories and tell ourselves everything is okay, it is easier to gaze upon beauty than to listen to brokenness. The golf course is fake! Ratanak International for 25 years has listened to these stories, allowed the people affected to tell them, and has provided the means to a new story (complete healing) It is an honour to help such a worthy organization.
Dandelions are beautiful!

My second day I ran 24.8 miles or 40 km, I started in Oakville and ended in Grimsby. I finished the day with many body parts starting to complain. Epson salt baths and ice packs helped me prepare for the next day.

My third day I ran 21.1 miles or 34 km (officially) Wrong turn added a few unofficial, remember marathon runners are not too bright. I started in Grimsby and ended in St Catherines. No one made an offer for the "antique" posing for the picture, so I guess I must keep running. I don`t know if Orange is the New Black, but Orange is the New Shoe. Other shoes` cushioning have worn out, and they will be sent soon to an Orphanage in Haiti.

My fourth day I ran 34.5 miles or 55.4 km. My father was there for my first three marathons and all four walkathons. A highlight for me was when he stepped between two marines and called my name in Boston at the 20 mile mark. He was my first and only choice for this challenge.  Part one of The Reverse Neil Boron is finished.

Neil Boron interviewed me and my family while I was in Buffalo. We presented the trophy to each other, it is reserved for those willing to run or walk 100 miles in support of Ratanak International.  After the interview I was nervously watching the weather as part two of my journey, the actual running of the full Buffalo Marathon was going to be run in near record heat.

The weather man was right on. My second hottest marathon run ever. Many times during this race thoughts of quitting kept coming to me. Something greater than myself was and is at work.

Now I am one week away from The fifth annual Ratanak 5kmwalkathon. Doubt is all around me. I set the aggressive goal of $30 052, someone from my group of organizers posted it to $30 252. A number we are only 10 percent of the way.
For me this will be a week of reflection and healing. I need to pray and try to get out of the way for this is to be a week of watching the Lord at work.

this link is for my donors page



Saturday, 30 April 2016

Twenty Eight Days

I started reading a new book "The Locust Effect" by Gary Haugen. Not an easy read! I read a little and have to take breaks, reading what so many of the world experience on a daily basis overwhelms me. Reading of these people, and their pain, torment, heartbreak, lack of justice and overall lack of hope, is sobering. What really gets to me is how so many men look at vulnerable people as opportunities to exploit instead of opportunities to help.
This is not only a third world problem as my newspaper yesterday had the story of major arrests in a pornographic sting in which many of the victims were fourteen year old girls.
Again I question the choice of free will if this is what men are capable of.

Our aquarium has a new issue, mystery snails. Mystery snails enter a tank through plants, they breed quickly and can contaminate the water. We went to an aquarium to ask an associate for advice.
My family spent over one hour looking at each beautiful coloured species of countless fish of every shape and size. Earlier in the week a young friend from work was telling me what Bible verse he would use to convince an atheist of God. Walking around this aquarium and having my senses overwhelmed by such beauty I thought the best way to convince an atheist of God`s existence would be to bring the person here.
Even this eel, not Gloria`s favourite is beautiful in its own way.

The associate gave us a number of options. One was to add copper to the tank, this supposedly would kill the snails and not harm our fish Triton. Another option was to put lettuce in a jar and collect the snails when they go on the lettuce, the third option was to add something called an assassin snail, a snail that eats mystery snails.

We picked options 2 and 3. Option 1 is so much the way of the world when we have or create a problem. Eliminating snails through the use of copper probably would affect other things such as Tritons health. As with any major problem in the world, until we get to the root of the problem and solve these, we are just creating other problems with our solutions.

Today is 28 days away from me running The full Buffalo Marathon. I have started to "taper" which is when a runner after increasing their mileage every week for a number of months starts to decrease their weekly mileage until the actual marathon. I will continue this until my final week when I will run from Mississauga to Buffalo, not exactly an efficient taper week, in total I will run 126 miles or 205 kilometers in one week. To help with my recovery this year, especially when I run to Buffalo I wanted to add acupuncture. I know an acupuncturist whom I trust but her office is a long drive against traffic. I found a store within a mile of my house who provides acupuncture. 
My first meeting was amusing to say the least. The acupuncturist is from another Country so I do not know if it is her English as a second language that makes her words seem so harsh, or if that is what she really feels.
The first meeting she told me "my stomach is no good", and also pointed out five areas in my legs she had found issues with. I felt like telling her "you missed two." But thought better of making a joke to someone who was going to be putting needles into me in a few minutes. Later as she cleared her throat for another comment I inwardly cowered. Imagine my surprise when she said "you are in very good shape." Since that first meeting we seem to have an understanding of each other. She tells me "you are running too far, it is no good for your body." I tell her "I know but you cannot run two kilometers to prepare for 42.2" One day she asked me how far I ran the previous day. I answered 32 kilometers, again I cowered as I waited for her response. She told me "I was really crazy!" How can I argue with that?  I actually got her to smile as I responded if I wasn`t crazy enough to run this far she wouldn`t be getting my business. She than asked me how my energy was? I told her how many people do you know that can run 32 kilometers? I saw another hint of a smile.

Hands put your empty hands in mine
And scars, show me all the scars you hide
Tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know your hurting but so am I
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine so yours can open

Even when I`m breaking down
I`ll find a way to break through
Even if we can`t find heaven
I`ll walk through hell for you

Love, your not alone
Cause I`m gonna stand by you
Even if we can`t find heaven
I`ll walk through hell for you
Even if we can`t find heaven
I`ll walk through hell for you

As I reflect on my past seven marathons and look forward to the  challenges I face in the next few weeks these words from Rachel Patten`s song I`m Gonna Stand By You refresh me and resonate so deeply in my soul. I look forward to two healings, one mine. I look forward to crossing the timing mat of the Buffalo Marathon and writing the words of an old song bringing the end to a man made problem with a God made promise and solution. I look forward to adding another chapter in the story of the most unlikely advocate for young woman in Cambodia.



Sunday, 6 March 2016

Do I Know The Way To Buffalo?

Today I ran The Chilly Half Marathon.  A record was set today, the outside temperature for this race; not my time. I ran with no hat and no gloves to a very respectable 1 hour 40 minutes.

As I picked up my kit at the expo on Friday a volunteer gave me a coupon for 20 percent off the sponsors line of product. I laughed out loud thinking of the remote chance of ever using this coupon. The sponsor was Mercedes Benz.

Last week I came across a quote I loved, it is deep and not light hearted.
Charles Bukowski

Find what you love and let it kill you.
Let it drain you of your all.
Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness.
Let it kill you and devour your remains.
For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it`s much
better to be killed by something you love.

Immediately I thought of Brian McConaghy and Lisa Cheong and their pursuit of justice and freedom for those in Cambodia. I thought of the sacrifices they make daily.
For approximately three months out of every year I try to do the same.
Next is an article sent to a magazine for May`s printing.
I have been a runner for the last seven years. Running is an unexpected gift I have received; it is my shelter from the storms of life, eliminating my problems and stresses. This "gift" has added years to my life.  
I have run seven full marathons. I am currently in training for my eighth, scheduled for this May in Buffalo.  Training for and running marathons is the hardest thing I have ever chosen to do. The day of the race yields many surprises, very rarely positive ones!  Indeed, though running has added years to my life -  Running marathons may have taken some away!

I run marathons for the not for profit organization Ratanak International. Their mandate is to help victims of sexual exploitation in Cambodia.
I run marathons because I feel I have to; not because I like to.
I run marathons to show my daughters that to follow a dream you must make sacrifices.
I run marathons because I was always told "one man can make a difference." Running marathons has allowed me to try and be that man.
I run marathons experiencing temporary pain, in a small way it reminds me of the pain these young women must bear.
I run marathons because I am not smart enough to stop.

I have also been part of organizing four 5km walkathons to benefit the same organization.

The walkathons have raised over $95 000. Since this will be a special 5th anniversary that will see us reach the impressive figure of $100 000, I felt the need to try and do something special to celebrate this numerical milestone.
It is said that "imitation is the highest form of flattery".  Well, two years ago Neil Boron, a radio host from WDCX in Buffalo walked 100 miles from Buffalo to Mississauga and then took part in the Ratanak 5km walkathon.
One summer night I watched a documentary with my wife on runners called ‘Desert Runners’. One race was in The Sahara Desert, and in one day the runners ran 100 miles. This challenge appealed to me so I asked my wife permission to try this race; not surprisingly I was denied.

A week later I asked my wife about another idea that I had devised: namely, a  ‘reverse Neil Boron’!  I would run from Mississauga to Buffalo, and then run the full Buffalo Marathon on May 29. She said yes provided I get a driver.

My father, Don, agreed and now we are in the beginning stages of planning my run.

This journey may be called: 'Don and Larry`s Excellent Adventure.'  A huge problem for me in this endeavour will be my sense of direction, or lack thereof. I have been lost in every single part of the Greater Toronto Area; fortunately for me my driver/spotter knows his way around Ontario very well and my fear of making a wrong turn and running an extra twenty miles are mostly alleviated.

 My first marathon in Mississauga 2009 was run in support of the "NewSong Center": a project Ratanak started up in response to the need for looking after very young girls rescued from sexual slavery. A few years ago, Ratanak turned this program over to another organization and concentrated its efforts on another area that they felt needed support: young woman further along in their healing, but who were not quite ready to move out on their own. This program was named the “Ratanak Achievement Program”. I have decided that all funds from the walkathon and my journey will be directed to this program. I thought of the possibility of a young girl aged ten at the NewSong Center at the time of my first marathon who is eighteen now living in RAP. I thought of how with each marathon I ran she may have been moving closer to her healing, and how the efforts of a man in Mississauga she may never meet may have improved this young woman`s quality of life, and may have given her a chance to succeed.
There are so many great causes in this world. My heart always has been with the girls in Cambodia, perhaps because I am blessed to have a beautiful family of two daughters and my wife, who have experienced a much different life then the young women I run for.
I believe many people working together can partner and make a difference in these young women and their destinies.
More information in upcoming blogs.