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In March of 2010, I’ll begin my Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike. It is a 2179 mile trail beginning in northern Georgia and ending in Maine, passing through 14 states along the way.
Having spent the last 6 months saving up for and planning this trip, I’ve done a lot of thinking. An AT thru-hike is a relatively selfish endeavor. Many have succeeded in completing the 2179 mile journey with a sense of accomplishment, and triumph over extreme mental and physical challenges; many experience self discovery and find new direction. All of these things were appealing to me as I planned my 2000+ mile journey; but I was somewhat troubled at the notion of a 6 month adventure that would be nothing but a self serving period of personal growth.
So, I’d been trying to think of some way that I could hike this trail at some benefit to others.
Not long after I started reflecting on this, a magnitude 7 earthquake devastated the nation of Haiti. I was heartbroken at the images I saw as the world media reported live from Port-au-prince in the days after the quake and I was captivated as I watched the international community respond with millions of dollars in emergency relief.
And it struck a chord. I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with some of the relief efforts in New Orleans and in the gulf area that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I spent a summer in New Orleans almost three years after the storm hit and even then, the city was very much still in the process of recovery (and is still today). Point is, after immediate emergency services are provided and after some sense of order is restored, the rebuilding process is just beginning. Long-term recovery isn’t ignored, but it’s much less publicized.
Anyway, long story short, I’ve set a goal of $2179.00, because that’s the number of miles from start to finish on the Appalachian Trail. The trail takes the average hiker 6 months to complete.
The idea behind this fundraiser is not just to provide a small amount of financial relief to the recovery effort, but more importantly to keep the nation of Haiti on our minds as they work to rebuild; and for six months and through 14 U.S. states, I can continue to broadcast this need.
The organization that I’ve chosen to fundraise for is called Center of Hope (Haiti). Their mission is “to foster livelihood and hope for the future of orphaned children of Haiti by providing shelter, education, nutrition, emotional security, healthcare and life skills to the children and their caregivers.” The reason i chose this organization was because of their focus on the long term.
To learn more about what they do, check out their website at:
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