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Sacramento Man Finished 100-Mile-Run in 100 Degree Heat to Secure Health Care for Uninsured Children
Date:5/30/2008

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the thermometer crept above the 100 degree mark, so did the expectation of a strong finish for Jason Harper's 100-mile-run for the children of inner-city Sacramento's roughest neighborhood. The Extra Mile Run was created by Harper to raise awareness and support for the uninsured children of Oak Ridge Elementary School.

Harper, 36, crossed the finish line on the playground of Oak Ridge at 29:35. Slightly dehydrated and exhausted, Harper's motivation never waned, though his body did.

"It was a long night and I am glad I am finished with the heat," Harper stated with ice packs being layered on his neck. "At the sixty mile mark, I was very nauseous and couldn't hold much down."

Despite the difficulties with the 103 degree heat, Harper continued to run.

"If we were really going to bring change, great awareness was going to have to happen. Finishing in the heat brought a lot more attention to the run," Harper stated.

For the last four years, Harper through Equal Start, has raised more than $100,000 in goods and service to help Oak Ridge Elementary thrive in their inner-city location. Despite the efforts of Equal Start, test scores remained nearly unchanged. Harper asked Principal Steve Lewis what he thought the reason was for little academic increase. Without hesitation, Lewis said, "A child's health and wellness." Harper strategized and then asked, "How can state-mandated test scores go up when sickness and access to basic health care escapes them?"

Harper discovered more than 1,000,000 children in California did not have health care and yet 70% of them qualified for it. The disconnect for medical coverage was at the enrollment process. "We found great friends at Cover the Kids. They mentored us to understand how to best get families aware of the available medical services."

Cover the Kids is a non-profit organization that assists families with the enrollment
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SOURCE Equal Start
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