A 2003 graduate of Iola-Scandinavia High School is turning her passion for running into an event that will benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Lora (Johnson) Mays, with the help of her friend Kara Beussink, has started the Virtual Run to raise funds for those affected by the hurricane.
“Hurricane Sandy caused a lot of destruction as she hit the East Coast,” said Mays, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“We were lucky. We didn’t lose power or water, and our entire neighborhood only had a few downed trees,” she said.
However, not everyone was so lucky.
“There are many people in New Jersey who have lost everything, and it will take months, if not years, to rebuild,” Mays said.
Mays and Beussink, who lives in Morristown, N.J., decided to follow their passion, which is running, to create a fun way to help them.
They created the Virtual Race.
To participate, find a race of any distance in the area during the month of November and make a minimum donation of $10 to the American Red Cross at http://www.crowdrise.com/sandyrecovery for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.
Several links, including Mays’ blog – http://www.crazyrunninggirl.com – and Beussink’s blog – http://www.kararuns.com – provide information about the race.
The direct link of http://bit.ly/virtual_race also has information.
“It’s so heartbreaking,” said Beussink. “I feel an overwhelming desire to do whatever I can to help. I just keep hearing that they need more money, so this is what Lora and I came up with to do our own little part”
She said, “The New Jersey Shore, Staten Island and downtown New York City were subject to extensive water and wind damage, along with the loss of entire homes, beaches and sadly, the loss of life.
“The majority of the damage in my neighborhood included century old trees being uprooted, minor flooding, minor damage to homes and a lot of power outages. Overall, we were extremely lucky. I feel very blessed, which is why I want to help those who were less fortunate.”
Mays said, “Participants who register and make the minimum donation will be entered to win prizes for their participation. So far, we have prize donations from Road ID, Sweat Pink and CLICK Espresso Protein Drink.”
Nearly 80 people have already registered.
“It’s amazing. The support is so widespread,” said Mays. “We have participants from the East Coast but also from all over the country – even Canada.”
Beussink said, “We are so encouraged by the support and interest we’ve received thus far. When we launched the Virtual Run, we were unsure as to what kind of interest we could generate.
“Thankfully, everyone out there seems to want to help. We sincerely appreciate the generosity of everyone who has joined us in the Virtual Run.
“We are so excited to train throughout the month of November, to get fit, have fun participating in races and above all, to raise as much money as we can for the Red Cross to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.”
Mays said, “Initially, we were hoping to raise $1,000, and in five days, we were already at 75 percent of our goal. The support is absolutely incredible.”