Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DANA CASANAVE: 52 Marathons in 52 Weeks for South African Orphans!

Some runner's are on a personal quest, some runner's are searching for something they may or may not find, some runner's could never stop moving and eventually became runner's, and some runner's run to make the world a better place. Dana Casanave began running for her health and in doing so she found a passion for running. Being a strong runner and an even stronger mother, she decided to help other children in need through running. Dana is running 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise $26,000 to help orphans in South Africa. She is close to meeting her fundraising goal but needs our help. I have never met Dana personally but through her actions I know she is an exceptional person. She is a mother who is there for her children... in addition to(!) being a mother to orphans she does not know and live thousands of miles away from her and her family (not to mention she is a marathoner!) We should rally behind Dana and help her reach her goal! Let's go running community, STEP UP! (ALL $ DONATED GOES TO THE CHILDREN) Undefeated Running gets about 1100 hits/month, if everyone donated $10 she would be VERY close to her goal. DONATE HEREI asked her to share her story with me and here is the letter she sent... 

"My name is Dana Casanave and I am a 29 year old wife, mother of 3 young children and a personal trainer in Leesburg, Virginia. In January of 2010 I began on a journey to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. This past weekend I completed marathon #41 of the year. I don't come from an athletic background. I do not have a typical runners build, but I've stayed course with my plans to run these marathons and plan to finish on January 15th (which also happens to be my 30th birthday).

I struggled with being severely overweight and out of shape for most of my life. After a lot of work, determination, time, and losing almost 70 pounds, I gained a new love for running. Running has changed my life in so many positive ways I wanted to use it as a means to do something positive for others.

I am running these marathons to raise funds and awareness for the Virginia-based charity 25:40, an organization dedicated to help South African orphans. Many of these children have lost one or both parents to AIDS and sadly many are HIV+ themselves. 25:40 supports and fosters the creation of orphanages, health clinics, day care centers, schools and other entities that are critical to the care and health development of children impacted by AIDS. I look at my own 3 children and think to myself, I would hope and pray that someone would do something if my children were left in the circumstances that these children face. I believe we have all been blessed in some way and need to use that to bless others. I can't save everyone, but I can make a difference in the life of a child, one at a time.

I call my journey 52 Beginnings, and each race is run for different child from the Ngqeleni District in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. There are over 1,500 children in this region orphaned or vulnerable to becoming orphans and all the funds raised goes to this group of kids. I'm trying to raise $26,000 to support 25:40's multi-year program designed to meet the basic and most essential needs of each of these children. All the money raised goes straight to the children, I am personally paying all my costs.  While I’m beginning these marathon races 52 times, I also hope to make a new beginning for each of these children.

Running a marathon every 6-8 days or less has been challenging, physically, mentally and emotionally, but fundraising has been downright frustrating. I only have 11 marathons left for my goal, but I am still $15,000 from my goal. I feel like if I have gone through everything I have this year, and complete all the marathons, but don't raise the funds I set out to raise for these children, my work has been useless, and so I am going to continue to work to meet both goals. These children are born into such a hopeless situation, and my job is not finished until I can help change that.
You can view my blog about this journey at

Run Strong!
Dana Casanave"

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