Shorts: Blue Ridge Briefs

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Boy, 11, Completes Running Streak for Friend with Cancer

Langhorne, Pa.

When Ryan Tarapchak found out his friend’s six-year-old little sister had cancer, he wanted to do something to help defray the enormous treatment costs. That something became a 30-day running streak that lasted from August 8 through September 8. Tarapchak raised more than $13,000—beating an initial $10,000 goal—for Isabella O’Brien, who is being treated for a rare form of cancer in her connective tissue. Despite the stifling summer heat, Tarapchak ran every day for a month, completing a 10K as his longest distance in the selfless endeavor.

Uncle Sam Says Clean Your Plate

Washington, D.C.

The federal government is calling for a big reduction in food waste. Earlier this fall Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and EPA Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg announced the United States’ first-ever national food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50-percent reduction by 2030. A release said the government plans to partner with the private sector, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, and state and local governments to tackle waste reduction, which has become a huge problem in the United States. “An average family of four leaves more than two million calories, worth nearly $1500, uneaten each year,” said Vilsack. The U.S. wastes nearly a third of the country’s overall food supply, quite significant considering nearly 50 million people live in insecure food households. Wasting food also has a big environmental impact, as landfills are the nation’s third largest source of methane.

Art Expedition

Seale, Ala.

In September, Alabama folk artist Butch Anthony led a journey that was part river trip, part mobile art gallery. Anthony gathered a group of Dutch artist friends and left his Seale gallery called the Museum of Wonder in an 18-foot pontoon boat that was decorated with salvaged materials. The group, accompanied by support in additional boats and kayaks, traveled on the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers down to the Gulf of Mexico, creating different works of art throughout the 220-mile trip and exhibiting along the way. The voyage also had a recycling element. “We make stuff out of trash,” Anthony told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer just before departure, “so we’ll pick up stuff along the river. There’s so much junk floating in the river and on the edges.”

Cyclist Wins Civil Suit Against Runner

Roanoke, Va.

In late summer, a cyclist was awarded $300,000 in a civil suit for injuries sustained during a collision with a runner on the Roanoke River Greenway. Back in 2012, Ann Shepherd was biking on the greenway during her lunch hour when she hit runner William Bundy. Shepherd alleged Bundy turned around suddenly without warning and caused the accident that sent her to the hospital with a significant brain injury. A jury agreed that Bundy was negligent but awarded Shepherd less than the $750,000 she was initially seeking.

Beyond the Blue Ridge

Cancer Survivor Completes U.S. Perimeter Run

In mid-September, Helene Neville finished a 3,680-mile run across the top of the United States. The epic journey took Neville four months and 12 days, as she ran from New Brunswick, Canada, to Ocean Shores, Washington. While amazing on its own, this effort actually completed a multi-year effort to run the country’s entire perimeter. Neville, 55, started working on the 9,715-mile slog back in 2010, finishing in segmented sections over a total of 330 days. Even more inspiring, Neville is a cancer survivor who’s battled the disease multiple times since being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the early 90s. During her long running journeys, Neville stopped at schools, hospitals, and cancer centers to share her story and offer inspiration to others struggling with the disease. She told Runner’s World she also received plenty of help from strangers along the way: “So many people helped me and housed me and rooted for me. When I looked deeper into our country and its people, there was more right than I ever imagined.”

Target Wants Employees to Get Fit

In a move to help employees become healthier and to help cut company healthcare costs, Target is offering 335,000 workers free Fitbit activity trackers. The giant retailer will give employees the basic Fitbit Zip and create competitions to keep employees moving. Employees are assigned to teams, and the winning team gives a $1 million donation to a charity of its choice.

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