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Local Purple Heart Recipient Runs 50 Miles for Be Change

06/23/2011, 3:19pm PDT
By Jason Harper

Be Change “Run CIM for the Health of our Kids” Program is Launched

by Jason Harper

SACRAMENTO, CA- Sacramento Soldier Sgt Jarus Perez saw first hand the value of medical care after being hit with an IED in December. Now, Perez seeks to conquer a 50 mile run, Thursday June 23, to bring awareness to the plight of children’s access to health care in the inner-city. Running a mile for the 50 states he was assigned to defend, Perez the admitted non-runner, will set out on the estimated 10 hour run in near century degree heat predicted for Thursday.

“I have heard people talk about the fog of war. I have found for me there is fog in not being deployed. There are a lot of tangled memories that I want to run from, but I am made better when I have something to run too. I needed to clear my head so I hooked up with friends and started to run.”

Perez sought out his life long friend and Sacramento ultrarunner, Jason Harper. Harper, a 100 mile finisher with numerous ultra race finishes, is known for helping runners make the jump from marathon to ultra distances and has an extraordinary success rate. He attaches a cause to the course. For Perez, the cause is children who are living in poverty.

Perez explained, “My first run was six miles, then 13, then 22… I asked if Jason 50 was feasible and he said, ‘without a doubt.’ Harper has committed to run the last 25 with Perez before heading to Tahoe to crew Western States 100.

Perez is committed to finish because of his new found passion in going the extra mile.

“Jason is all about running for a reason. His message of “Be Change” resonated in my soul. He challenged me to ‘be the change’ in the world I wanted to see. Five weeks ago, I had not gone beyond 13 miles. Today, I am happy to be alive and I am going to go fifty for these kids.”

In December, Perez was hurt when a dismounted IED exploded in a shed he was clearing in Afghanistan. Since then he has processed much of what  he has seen, but feels the mind has to mend as much as the body. He can’t forget the doctors and medical community that saved his life.

“On the battlefield, I had access to some of the best doctors in the world. They saved my life. Now home, it was shown to me there are kids in Sacramento who may have never been to a doctor. I have a doctor in Kabul, but they don’t have one in California? That has got to change.”

Perez and Harper believe that when awareness increases, so does compassion and empathy. Those traits lead to the influence of change. Perez hopes his run point’s people towards Be Change and the launch of their Run for a Reason campaign, that challenges people to run the California International Marathon on behalf of an inner-city child.

“While running he (Harper) talks about an internal quest for an off switch within endurance athletes. I want to the turn the sound of war off in my head and tune into the voice within me that advocates for the voiceless.”

For Perez, the run will provide some solitude for him and some health care for some children.
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WHO: Sacramento Army Soldier, Sgt Jarus Perez
WHAT: 50 Mile Run, 10 Hours
WHERE: Downtown Sacramento, Cal Expo, Folsom, Lake Natoma, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento
WHEN: Thursday, June 23, 6AM-4PM
WHY: Raise awareness for Children’s Health Care

Stay tuned for details about Jarus Perez’ experience. To learn more about this and the Be Change CIM Training Program visit the Be Change website linked below.

Also, click below to make a donation to Be Change that will target improving the health of our inner city kids.