Jason's March to the Marathon: Running out of darkness - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Jason's March to the Marathon: Running out of darkness

(Source: Out of Darkness Ministries) (Source: Out of Darkness Ministries)
(Source: Jason Dennis) (Source: Jason Dennis)
(Source: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital) (Source: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It’s a win-win, if you can use one of your passions in life to help raise money for a good cause. With my running this time, I’m hoping to tackle the issues of childhood cancer and also sex trafficking.

I ran more than 30 miles last week, including my longest ever single run of 15 miles. It’s not necessarily because running is fun and I love it – but it’s part of my training schedule to complete my first ever full marathon, and this race is a vehicle to raise funds for some amazing organizations.

I run, in hopes that more sex trafficking victims don't have to anymore. And you can help. For instance, if you want to donate a dollar per mile for the 26.2 that I’ll be running, that’s $26.20. Or giving 5 dollars per mile of my marathon would be $131.

I just launched a place where you can donate: https://www.gofundme.com/runoutofdarkness. Here’s specifically why I picked this cause and where your money will go.

Solid Rock Student Ministries - the youth group at my church - has committed to raise $25,000 this year to buy a new van for a ministry called OUT OF DARKNESS, which helps rescue sex trafficking victims, as part of the Atlanta Dream Center.

They desperately need a new vehicle to transport teams in Atlanta, one of the worst cities in the nation for prostitution. Volunteers with "Out of Darkness" deliver roses to prostitutes in Georgia's capitol, telling them God loves them and giving them a way out. Learn more at www.outofdarkness.org.

I also paid $100 to compete in the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon on April 30. The money from that race goes to a cause close to my heart. My father was a pediatrician, and I love kids.

I’ve also visited the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for our “Dream Home” promotions on WTVM. I got to meet some of the very brave patients! They put to shame any pain or discomfort I may go through as a runner.

Getting healthy and losing weight are great reasons to exercise, but helping others also allows me or any of you to run for a reason bigger than us.

I’ve participated in at least 20 races over the last 30 months of my new running career. All of those events benefited important causes.

The money that I and thousands paid for my first 5K, the Country’s BBQ Midnight Express, helps the visually impaired. All proceeds for my first 10K went to the Fort Benning Wounded Warrior Association.

Other of my races have gone to schools and non-profits like the ALS Emory Center (“Run for Jeremy” in honor of Coach Jeremy Williams) and the Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Musical Arts (my half-marathon in Birmingham last November).

I encourage you to sign up for a race to help a cause, like these coming soon:

The inaugural Bulldogs Dash for a Cure takes place April 9 at Aaron Cohn Middle School in Midland, with the money going to Relay for Life and cancer research. Register at http://www.active.com/midland-rd-ga/running/distance-running-races/bulldogs-dash-for-a-cure-2016?int.

The Highland Mud Run, on April 30 at North Highland Church in Columbus, will be a fun challenge and benefits many causes like Sound Choices and the Children’s Miracle Network. Sign up here: http://www.active.com/midland-rd-ga/running/distance-running-races/bulldogs-dash-for-a-cure-2016?int.

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