NEW YORK CITY, New York – Pamela Anderson’s name may conjure up an image of her running on the beach à la Baywatch, but come next month she will be running for a different reason. Anderson recently announced that she will be participating in the ING New York City Marathon on November 3, 2013 to raise money for the J/P Haitian Relief Organization.
The organization was co-founded by two-time Oscar winning actor Sean Penn in 2010 following the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti and killed more than 100,000 people. With a staff made up of 350 people (95 percent of whom are Haitian), the organization works to implement sustainable medical, structural, and community development programs in Haiti. According to their website, their key accomplishments include distributing water filters and buckets to 10,000 people, providing quality education and a free nutritious lunch to 430 children, and delivering more than 100 metric tons of cholera treatment supplies to medical clinics across the country.
The NYC Marathon is the premier 26.2 mile run held by the New York Road Runners organization. It gathers nearly 48,000 participants and has raised nearly $34 million for 190 nonprofit causes. It is among the most prominent running events in the U.S. and is described by its founders as “the world’s greatest road race.”
Pamela Anderson has said in interviews that she has actually never been a runner, but that she has her mind set on achieving her goal of completing the marathon due to a connection she feels with Haiti and its people. “Haiti is such a magical place,” she said. “It has a real special place in my heart.”
According to the World Bank, Haiti was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere prior to the earthquake. While some progress has been made in the past three years, Haiti still remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with over half its population living on less than $1 per day, and nearly 80 percent on less than $2 per day.
Stressing the importance of being proactive, Anderson states in her fundraising pitch, “Instead of wallowing in some self-destructive place, get involved! Whatever it takes! It feels good to help. And it heals us too.”
Dozens of other celebrities also running the NYC Marathon include NBC’s “The Apprentice” winner Bill Rancic, “Amazing Race” winner Nick Spangler, supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, and First Lady of Wyoming Carol Mead.
– Rifk Ebeid