In November, our team will be running the Berkeley Half Marathon 10K. We’ve been spending our early mornings and evenings after work training to prepare, some of us building up to the 6.2 mile distance, while others try to improve their race time. Our motivation is twofold: while our workouts improve our personal health (the American Heart Association says running 75 minutes per week can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease), our fundraising efforts as a Berkeley Half Marathon charity partner contribute to the health of people around the world.

We run for Haiti.

We’re running to support our program in Mirebalais, Haiti, where we work to improve healthcare for children and mothers. Alongside Partners in Health, known locally as Zanmi Lasante, we have established an on-site blood bank and transfusion service at the Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM). Our volunteers have enabled the blood bank to begin producing plasma and, for the first time this year, platelets. They are now one of the only sites in the country able to make these life-saving blood components. Just last month, an 11-day-old baby in the neonatal intensive care unit was treated with platelets produced by the hospital.  Our program also ensures a safe supply of blood for transfusion to treat pregnant women with severe anemia, which if left untreated can lead to complications and even death. Trauma patients also rely on the blood bank at the hospital. Hurricane Matthew reminded us of Haiti’s vulnerability, killing hundreds and devastating the south of the country in early October. Our volunteers will return early next year to continue training at HUM, helping to ensure that a safe blood supply is available to save lives in times of crisis.

We run because we care.

Good health should never be taken for granted. We run to build stronger hearts and bodies, and our work comes from the heart as well. Our vision is a world where children and mothers with life-threatening conditions are cared for by skilled, local healthcare professionals. We are grateful for this opportunity and ready to hit the ground running at the Berkeley Half Marathon 10K to support health in Haiti.