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Aggies lace up to save lives around the world

Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07

Nearly 8 million children under 5 years of age die each year. Six million of these lives could have been saved. Compassion International is an organization that is working toward saving the lives of children around the world. Saturday, there will be a "Run for Compassion" to raise funds for the organization.      

The mission statement of Compassion International is: "In response to the Great Commission, Compassion International exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults."

Compassion works in Asia, Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Compassion brings aid to more than 1 million children in 25 countries. Aid is given to children through programs that provide children with food, medicine, funds and schooling.

    Jennifer Bacak started Run For Compassion two years ago. Her family has been involved with Compassion International in the past, and as they learned more, the more they were inspired to make a change.

    "The more we learned, the more compelled we felt to do something," Bacak said. "Our kids are living in plenty, and these kids are dying."

    The "Run for Compassion" in College Station was one of the first of its kind. Since then, runs have spread nationwide to raise money for children in need.

    This weekend's "Run for Compassion" will give money to the child survival program. The child survival program provides children with the necessities that will keep them alive until the age of 5. After that, the children are eligible for the child sponsorship program. In this program, people personally adopt a child in a foreign country, sending them funds, cards and birthday gifts. 

    "The kids can't be sponsored before 5 years old because a lot of kids don't make it to the age of 5," said Jamie Klemashevich, senior recreation parks and tourism sciences major and public relations coordinator for the run.

    Compassion International partners with the local churches to provide care beginning at pregnancy. Services range from prenatal care to clean birthing services.

    "Sometimes they just don't know how to take care of a baby," Klemashevich said. 

    While Compassion sponsors countries around the world, College Station's Run for Compassion focuses specifically on Ethiopia and Haiti.

The run begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and will go through the Emerald Forest Subdivision. Participants can run, walk or stroll for either 5K or 10K. Registration will be open the day of the race.

    Those who cannot attend the run have the option of contributing to the cause at 

    The goal for the first compassion run was $4,000, and it was met. The second year, the goal was $8,000, and it was surpassed with $11,000 raised. Bacak said this year's is $15,000.

"Other people should run because then they could be a part of saving a child's life. No one wants to see children under age 5 die of preventable diseases. People should run to do something greater than themselves and help save the lives of children in Ethiopia and Haiti," said Shelby Holloway, a freshman general studies major. "There is no greater reason running than that of people will come to know Jesus as their Savior."


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