Leprechaun leaps 5km to benefit women and children in Tanzania | Exteriornw

To get into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit, runners and walkers are encouraged to move with a mission during the fourth annual Leprechaun Leap 5K/10K in Woodinville on Saturday, March 12.

According to Loree Bolin, director and founder of Health & Hope Foundation, the event will begin with a 100-meter Sprite Sprint for children 6 and under in Wilmot Park at 9 a.m. Participants – who are asked to dress in their best green attire – will start the 5K and 10K races at 9:15 a.m.

“This is our biggest event,” she said. “People are ready to get out there, move around and have fun.”

Dogs and strollers are welcome to participate in the 5K, Bolin said, but the 10K is only available to runners. There will also be an “athletes’ village” with sponsor tents and face painting, she added.

Runners can choose to participate virtually by running the course anytime between March 12 and March 27. Bolin said registration for the “family-oriented” event closes at noon on March 9.

In 2021, the race was held in person with a few virtual participants. Bolin said she made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person event three days before the race in 2020. However, the group quickly pivoted to offer a virtual component instead. About 150 runners participated in 2020, she added.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Health & Hope Foundation, she said. The non-profit organization supports health care, education and economic development for women and children in Tanzania.

“There will be photos along the trail,” Bolin said. “People will remember along the way that this is a time for them to come together and walk with purpose.”

Bolin, a current resident of Edmonds, led many healthcare missions around the world before starting a nonprofit in 2014.

The foundation runs the Tumaini Tutor School, which Bolin started about 10 years ago. The school provides free education to more than 200 orphaned children in Tanzania. Additionally, she said, the nonprofit organizes portable healthcare clinics for people with limited access to care. She said volunteers provide dental, medical and vision services.

At first, Bolin said, she focused on handling complaints from older women who came to the clinic with sore eyes, breathing problems and joint pain. Visiting their homes, she said, the volunteers discovered that the patients were surviving on little money while raising several children and grandchildren.

For work, she said, women broke rocks into gravel for construction projects for $1.50 a day. The foundation began providing women with safety glasses, hammers and physiotherapy equipment as well as economic opportunities through the Women’s Business Program.

Through donations and fundraising, the program has treated more than 7,200 patients and mentored more than 150 businesswomen. The nonprofit organization also provides more than 11,600 meals a year, according to the foundation’s website.

In May, Bolin said, a group of 16 American volunteers will travel to Tanzania for three weeks to provide health care in two locations: a village setting and a community in Maasai, Tanzania.

About Marion Alexander

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