When I was little I had a cliché dream of being a veterinarian or finding a way to somehow transform tree-climbing into a professional career. These dreams were dashed both by my lack of scientific prowess and intense fear of ridicule, respectively. At just thirteen years of age, eighth grader Alyssa, puts my simplistic aspirations to shame.
Alyssa is set to compete in our 5K this year. That alone is exciting for us, as we love for young kids to get out and stay active. However, there’s a little more to be excited about than the simple fact that she is running our race. Alyssa has set out on an ambitious journey: run a race in each of the 50 states.
Not only is her feat extraordinary on its own as a physical accomplishment, but it is an extraordinary display of determination and good will. Each race she competes in, Alyssa raises money for a different charity. It hasn’t been just about a personal goal, but about helping others achieve their goals by supporting worthy causes.
Alyssa’s ultimate goal is to complete all of her races before her 16th birthday. She currently averages one race per month and may even extend to two in order to finish on time. During her free time (I clearly use the term free time very loosely) she attempts to blend in with the rest of the kids her age by participating in various sports, hitting the beach, and playing music (piano and percussion, to be exact). Keep reading below to find out more about this amazing young girl and her equally amazing cause:
Race on the Base: What gave you the idea to run for charity in all 50 states?
Alyssa: I ran the race in Washington DC because my friend Athena’s Mom, and my Mom’s friend Carol were battling breast cancer and I wanted to do something to show support for them. So my mom said you can always run the 5k in Washington, and we did. I didn’t run another race until I was going into the 7th grade and in my hometown there is the Progeria foundation. My brother had run for them the year before, so I decided to make Team 777 which was 7 kids in the 7th grade to raise 700.00 for Progeria. I sent out 10 letters to my friends to get them on my team and only one joined. So 120 letters later, we had a team. We worked hard to reach our goal and it ended up being over 1000.00. Sam and Megan who have Progeria were amazing, but when we were fund raising, we found out that a lot of people didn’t even know of the condition. That is when I decided I could find other races to run and help out other charities.
ROTB: Why did you want to run all of these before your 16th birthday?
A: I chose 16 because you have to set goals in life and since my birthday isn’t until August, I will turn 16 right before my junior year in High School when I have to really start focusing on college.
ROTB: How do you raise money for your charities?
A: I raise money through letters, e-mails and small bake sales. My goal was to raise at least 25.00 per month and run one race per month.
ROTB: How much have you raised for charity to date (including all races so far)?
A: I’m not sure how much I have raised so far, but 25.00 is my least amount and 2295.00 is the largest amount. My parents pay my entrance fees to the races.
ROTB: What states have you ran in so far?
A: I have ran in Washington DC, Cape Cod, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin. I have ran 20 races total because I have ran a few in MA.
ROTB: What do you like to do on your free time?
A: In my free time I love to hang out with my friends, play soccer, lacrosse and basketball. I love the beach in the summer and skiing in the winter. I also play piano and percussion.
ROTB: What grade are you in?
A: I am in the 8th grade and go to Peabody Higgins Middle School.
ROTB: What is your overall goal in doing these races?
A: To help as many different charities as I can because there are so many people out there who need us. My Nana and Papa are my biggest inspiration because they do so much for people and they are 79 and 84.
ROTB: What has been your favorite race so far and why?
A: Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in Washington DC. There were so many people there and a lady asked me how old I was and I said 10 and she was 70 battling cancer and she thanked me.
ROTB: What has been the hardest thing about your journey?
A: The hardest thing about the journey is going to the same people over and over again to pledge me and the causes are great ones.
ROTB: Why Race on the Base for your California race?
A: My brother Nick is a junior in High School and he is taking the ASVAB on Friday and he found this race for me. (ASVAB stands for “Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery”, which serves as a career assessment).
ROTB: What made you select Honoring Our Fallen as your California charity?
A: I have chosen Honoring Our Fallen as my charity because I ran for Home front Heroes in Colorado and The Wounded Warriors in Rhode Island and the military are so grateful and nice for the little things we do for them and the Fallen have made the ultimate sacrifice for us, so we owe them.
If you want to donate to this young girl’s amazing cause, please visit her charity page:
Shown here, Alyssa competed in a run to raise money to battle MS (Multiple Sclerosis). 1 of the 50 charities she will have helped by the end of her journey!