Child Abuse Survivor’s 157-Day Journey to Raise Money for the Fight Against Child Abuse Culminates at the Run2Heal San Francisco 5K on August 22
On Wednesday, August 22, former American Ninja Warrior contestant, ultra-endurance athlete, and child abuse survivor Christian Griffith, will cross the Golden Gate Bridge and arrive in San Francisco for the much-anticipated completion of his 157-day, cross-country Run2Heal, on behalf of Help For Children.
The last 3.1 miles of his 3,000-mile run across the United States will take place at the Run2Heal San Francisco 5K in the Presidio’s Crissy Field.
All are invited to register to run or walk the Run2Heal San Francisco 5K with Griffith – both in person or virtually – as he crosses the Run2Heal Finish Line. Spectators are also welcome to attend the event, which will begin at 5:00 p.m. (check-in begins at 4:00 p.m. at the Sports Basement parking lot at Crissy Field), and which will include a post-run celebration in partnership with Sports Basement in Griffith’s honor. Sponsorships are available and will help support Help For Children’s grant-making efforts in the Bay Area. For more information or to register, visit: run2heal.hfc.org or hfc.org
Griffith has been running across the country to engage in conversations about child abuse and raise money for Help For Children, a global nonprofit charity dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse. Since he began his run in New York City on March 19, Griffith has endured harsh weather conditions including extreme cold and heat, and has covered on average 30 miles a day, an ultra-marathon distance, five days a week for five months.
Along Griffith’s journey across twelve states, Run2Heal has provided a platform for survivors to break the silence and stigma that surrounds talking about child abuse and amplify an open discussion of this critical aspect of protecting and healing children. It has given people an opportunity to run alongside Christian to show support, speak out, and tell their stories, letting the world know that it is not taboo to talk about abuse. The goal is to exponentially increase awareness and raise $1 million to prevent and treat child abuse worldwide.
A survivor of sexual abuse that he experienced in his early teens, Christian is dedicated to empowering others to break their silence and seek treatment. “It took me more than 30 years to come to grips with the sexual abuse I experienced and realize that the only way out for those who suffer this kind of trauma is treatment. And the only way to stop this abuse is to get people talking about it—LOUDLY!”
Christian Griffith is a renowned endurance athlete and ultra-runner who has completed more than 100 marathon runs, traversing volcanoes, deserts, jungles and swamps all over the world. He was a finisher on the History Channel’s reality series “The Selection: Special Operations Experiment” and appeared on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” among other accomplishments.
“My sexual abuse does not define me, it fuels me,” Christian stated. “I am not a victim, I’m a fighter.”
According to Renée Skolaski, Executive Director and CEO of Help for Children, “As Help For Children marks our 20th anniversary of making the world a safer place for children, we are proud to partner with Christian as he devotes his incredible strength to helping survivors heal, step-by-step for 3,000 miles. Linking this incredible endurance feat with overcoming the trauma of childhood abuse through Run2Heal sends a powerful message to the world.”
Established in 1998, Help for Children has grown from a single fundraising event in NYC to a global foundation that operates in 13 cities in 7 countries. HFC has just one overriding mission: the prevention and treatment of child abuse. Over the past 20 years, the organization has distributed more than $51 million in grants to organizations across the world that protect and heal children.
The scope of child abuse is truly heartbreaking and the need for help is staggering. Worldwide, an estimated 40 million children are subjected to abuse each year, with nearly a quarter of all adults reporting that they suffered physical abuse as a child. In the United States alone, there are over 3.3 million reports of child abuse and neglect made each year, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 4 U.S. children experience some form of child abuse in their lifetimes.
“In addition, since children are often too young, too scared or too ashamed to tell anyone about it, abuse can easily be hidden from view and these reports may actually underestimate the true occurrence,” explained Renée Skolaski. “This is why an effort such as Run2Heal that helps to destigmatize speaking out about abuse is so crucial to reduce the suffering of innocent children, as well as repercussions well into adulthood.”
Christian Griffith added, “The confusing thoughts and feelings of guilt around past experiences bring on a lifetime of shame, anger, poor choices, and a lack of self-worth,” he said. “I am spreading the message that acknowledging the abuse and its effects, speaking out, and seeking treatment is critical for healing—which all survivors deserve.”
To learn more about Run2Heal or donate, click here.
About Help For Children
Help For Children (HFC), a not-for-profit established in 1998, is a global foundation supported by the alternative asset management industry. With the support of Hedge Fund Cares and Private Equity Cares, HFC provides grants to the most effective and efficient child abuse prevention and treatment interventions in seven countries, making the world a safer place for children. For more information, visit www.hfc.org