On Saturday, May 17, the first annual Race to Heal Haiti will be held at Nay Aug Park. The 5K run/walk will begin at 11 a.m., with preregistration occurring from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Money raised from this event will be used to assist nursing students in Haiti to attend school for their RN degree.
This reporter had the opportunity to speak to the event organizer, Valarie Lucas, who is a junior year nursing student at the University of Scranton. Lucas first became interested in Haiti when she had the opportunity to apply for the International Service Program offered by the University. She was struck by “the sense of human connection and the community of people” that she experienced there, which she described as “the most raw form of love.” Lucas stated that the ideas of faith and community which she learned on the trip could be summarized by a quote from Mother Teresa: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
A month later, Lucas returned to Haiti, this time accompanied by her two brothers, Dean and Eugene. The importance of education became apparent, especially as Lucas conversed with aspiring nurses. They told her that it was often difficult to save the money required for a four year registered nurse degree. When she found out that tuition costs $360 a year, she knew that she could make a real difference in the lives of these students.
From her desire to assist these students, Lucas developed the idea for the Race to Heal Haiti. All proceeds from the event will be used in assisting students pay for their nursing tuition. The impact, Lucas assures her supporters, will be ongoing. “That one person has the ability to change things. You just have to follow your heart.”
Individuals interested in participating in the event can sign up that morning or preregister online at www.racetohealhaiti.com.
Updates about the event will be posted at these Facebook locations: