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57 Year-Old Grandmother Travels to Atacama Desert to Run First of Four Ultramarathons for Charity

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 7th Linda Quirk will begin her voyage across Chile's Atacama Desert in an attempt to become the first woman in history to complete the 4 Deserts in under a year.  Named TIME magazine's second most arduous event in the world, the 4 Deserts is a series of six-day, 150-mile ultramarathons that sends endurance athletes across the Atacama, Gobi, Sahara, and Antarctica deserts.  Linda's mission comes at the heels of her most recent accomplishment, running a marathon on each of the seven continents in under a year for charity.  To date, her website has raised over $370,000 for drug and alcohol addiction treatment and recovery.  This year she hopes to raise $1 million, while generating a much-needed dialogue about addiction treatment and recovery.

"After running marathons around the world I have seen and heard firsthand how the disease of addiction is without boundaries," says Quirk.  "It is imperative that we inform the people of the world struggling with addictions that treatment exists and that long-term recovery is possible."

Linda's website is raising funds for Caron's program, which provides financial assistance to families in need of addiction treatment.  She chose Caron after witnessing the effectiveness of its innovative treatment and how it, not only saved her stepdaughter's life, but how it saved so many other families.

"We desperately need more donations," says Quirk.  "The money we've raised is already saving lives and helping families in need of treatment.  But there are so many more families out there who still need our support. "

Caron is a nonprofit addiction treatment center that helps those affected by alcohol and drugs and their families begin a new life.  Linda's stepdaughter, Katherine, began her journey from methamphetamine addiction to recovery at Caron Renaissance in Florida, something Linda is forever grateful for.

Seven volunteer runners have joined to run one of the 4 Deserts with Linda.  The volunteers were tasked to raise a minimum of $5,000 for the scholarship fund and to train extremely hard to prepare for the journey ahead. Some have never run a half-marathon let alone 150-miles.  Their stories (including one volunteer who has lost 45 pounds in six months) are remarkable and can be followed on over the course of the year, so stay tuned.

"We all are extremely touched and inspired by Linda's dedication to raise awareness about addiction and funds to support treatment for families," says Missy Orlando, Chief Marketing Officer at Caron Treatment Centers.  "Many families will benefit from her contributions to our scholarship fund. She's really helping to enlighten people everywhere that addiction is a disease and that there is hope for a successful recovery."

To learn more about Linda Quirk's incredible story or to make a donation to her cause, log onto or follow her on Twitter at @Run7on7.  


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