Why did we run 200 miles??? (cause we're crazy!)

 Front Row: Kim Hough, Kesh Witmer, Hope Ervine, Jordan Kauffman, Samantha Horning, Matt O'Malley, Matt Hamscher /// Back Row: Jim Witmer, Melinda Snow, David Snow, Missy O'Malley, Steve Tatios

Front Row: Kim Hough, Kesh Witmer, Hope Ervine, Jordan Kauffman, Samantha Horning, Matt O'Malley, Matt Hamscher /// Back Row: Jim Witmer, Melinda Snow, David Snow, Missy O'Malley, Steve Tatios

I often get asked how we choose fundraising events and the Ragnar Relay is a great example of what we aspire to do with our community and our mission.

In this case, a Neema trip attendee and donor, Missy O’Malley, had a desire to give back to Neema in a more significant way. She and Matt, her husband, are avid runners and have enjoyed previous Ragnars and thought this might be a fun way to support Neema by recruiting a team and getting donors to sponsor each runner. Missy approached me and we began a 6-month process to prepare for the event. As you might imagine, the logistics and preparation are substantial but Missy did a great job navigating her way through it.

While it’s hard to predict how these things will turn out (you can’t control every variable) this event really epitomizes the Neema family experience! We started with a totally committed group of runners who not only prepared themselves for these challenging runs, but each runner committed to raising $1,500 individually. While there were some existing relationships between some participants, often our only common threads were loving Neema and a willingness to run. I can’t say enough good things about everyone’s supportive attitude throughout the race! Ragnar creates a unique “community” experience because you live in a van with 5 other (often, very sweaty) people for over 30 hours!

Another amazing aspect of this race was the broader community’s response in giving and encouragement as the team posted race details on social media. We started the race with $11,000 and finished surpassing our goal of $18,000. The responses we received and the donation momentum gained through the day and night were so gratifying and made every single mile worth the effort.

The funds that you gave help create hope in the lives of young women who come to us from often desperate situations and extreme material poverty. Together we are making a real difference. Educating minds, restoring hearts and transforming lives.

~ Melinda Snow