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Published April 4th, 2018
Local moms run for a good cause
Front, from left: Jennifer Xu, Hanbin Liu, Mengzhi Hu, Peiying Lo, Jin Yang, and Lan Yu; back: Juan Chen-Olsen, Liyan Hou, Ye Liu, Alice Zhang, Helen Li, Yan Heim, and Ada Ling. Photo provided

A group of 13 Lamorinda moms participated in the March 25 Oakland Running Festival. This time, however, it was for good reason.
It began when Yan Heim proposed the idea to two friends, Helen Li and Ye Liu, about fundraising for CALICO, the nonprofit Child Abuse, Listening, Interviewing, and Coordination center dealing with victims of child abuse, located in San Leandro (of which Heim is a board member). Li and Liu were touched by Heim's passion for the abused children and decided that they wanted to do something to help.
Since all three women belonged to a local fitness group, they decided to form a running team and participate in the festival. Their goal? Raise $5,000 for CALICO. They made an announcement through social media and the responses the trio received were overwhelming. Two weeks from the day of the race, they had already reached their initial goal of $5,000. People from the local community, their friends and colleagues in both the States and China, poured out their support through pledges and donations. As the captain of the team, Liu decided to raise the goal to $8,000, an amount surpassed soon after. The goal was then raised again to $10,000. Just before day of the race, they reached their goal. However, it didn't stop there: on the day of the race, just over $12,500 had been raised.
During the endeavor, seven other women joined the team. Soon after, three more women joined the team. Collectively, they reached out to about 4,000 people. They participated in all the events: a few of them ran the 5K, others a half marathon, and four in the full marathon relay. One of the moms, Alice Zhang, even got her teenage son to volunteer for CALICO on the day of event.
According to Liu, "All of us were determined to run with the best of our abilities because we believe people will respond better when you put forth your best effort." Running with a cause is such a rewarding experience for us, like what another team member, who is the Champion of this fund raising effort, Juan Chen-Olsen said, "You are not just running to challenge yourself, but you are running to shed light into another's life! We are all together."

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