June 8, 2020

Baton Rouge Woman Runs 26 Marathons for Charity

Baton Rouge Woman Runs 26 Marathons for Charity

Now, here’s something to smile about coming out of Baton Rouge, courtesy of WAFB.  Baton Rouge resident, Rachel Jillson, recently ran 26 consecutive marathons in 26 days to raise funds for a children’s bike program, Front Yard Bikes.

Jillson was prompted to undertake this 26 marathon endeavor when word came to her that the state of Louisiana would be shut down, effectively preventing all of the kids in Front Yard Bikes program from being able to go to their beloved workshop to service and learn on bikes. In coordination with Front Yard Bikes owner, Dustin LaFont, they worked to bring the shop to them.

Running 26 marathons in 26 days can be taxing on the body as one might imagine.  Battling fatigue, sore muscles, and the elements, each grueling mile, Jillson raised over $6,500, smashing her goal of raising $5,000 for Front Yard Bikes.

“I wanted something local in our community,” said Jillson. “I wanted everyone’s money to go back to Baton Rouge. I wanted it to be something that was investing in the kids because they’re really what’s going to carry this town on and our future, and then I saw what Dustin was doing during the shutdown, the shelter in place, helping with the kids and it just made it even more of a reason this was the place that needed the resources and it would all go to a very good cause.”

Front Yard Bikes’ mission is to teach children how to work on bicycles, which is intended to assist them with learning useful skills they will take with them well into their lives.  Children are even able to earn a bike through their service in the program

Owner Dustin Lafont said, “That’s going to help us get a lot of kids summer jobs and to work their hours, be paid from home, and be paid for small things they can do. It helps us to get summer tool kits and activity kits that our kids can do from home because they can’t come to our shop and do them directly.”

Even though she is done running her 26 marathons, Jillson intends to keep on fundraising. You can donate through her GoFundMe and read more about her efforts on her Facebook page.

According to their website, Front Yard Bikes is a community bike shop that focuses on teaching participants of all ages how to fix and maintain bikes. We teach and develop skills in mathematics, physics and mechanics, while promoting inclusivity, mentorship, recreation and academic achievement. We offer youth in the community a safe, free after-school program. They are taught responsibility and become peer leaders as they are faced with ethical and moral questions in their day-to-day lives. The heart of our program is motivated by compassion for kids from low-income families that are willing to work for what they get. We hope to impact the youth of Baton Rouge, one bike at a time, one heart at a time, because the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.

Their website includes several links, including to donate, purchase a bike, or even participate in one of their well-attended Friday Rides.

Information about how donations are used are identified:

  • A $20 donation can buy a trip for 14 kids to the BMX park
  • A $50 donation will provide up keep for our garden for a full month
  • A $100 donation will provide rent for 2 weeks.
  • Any donation of $100 or more, we will send you a free FYB shirt and thank you.

For more Louisiana related articles, click here.

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