Summit Supports The Stop The Trafficking Run
On Saturday, June 13th, you are invited to join runners gathering in Eden Prairie for a 5K to raise awareness about human trafficking and support the organizations who care for rescued victims.
Dr. Sarah Lehnert and her family believe in the importance of an athletic life, and in giving back to their community. In 2014, when Sarah’s husband Mark was invited to help with the logistics of an inaugural run to raise awareness and funds to support exploited children, his volunteer race planning evolved into a project involving the entire Lehnert family.
“Human trafficking is a serious issue right here in our own communities,” says Mark Lehnert. “The average age of girls rescued from trafficking is 12 to 13 years old; these are little girls. The underground nature of the crime makes data difficult to gather, but the FBI estimates that the Twin Cities area is ranked13th in the nation in terms of human trafficking activity. Our race proceeds are used to shelter, educate, and rehabilitate the children rescued from trafficking by local police.”
Dr. Lehnert joined her husband in supporting the first Stop the Trafficking run. As a non-surgical sports medicine physician, she provided medical coverage for the event, assisted by her colleague, Dr. Angela Voight. They arrived on race day not sure how many runners to expect, but with resources to handle any emergency that might arise, from a cardiac event to a sprained ankle or bee sting.
“A marathon is more demanding than a 5K, but it’s still important to have medical coverage in case of injury or a life threatening event,” Dr. Lehnert explains. “The more relaxed atmosphere of the 5K gave us time to talk with runners and answer their questions about training issues, running shoes, or symptoms they are having when they run. This event is also an opportunity for us to work with the police to make people aware of trafficking here in Eden Prairie, so we can take steps to stop it. This is a cause-driven event with a sports medicine education aspect. We love interacting with the community and the runners; it’s a great way for us to go into the community and give back.”
Last year’s launch race attracted 850 participants, and raised $18,000 for local organizations that help trafficked victims. This year, with strong corporate sponsorship from organizations including Summit Orthopedics, the race is attracting a growing number of runners. The Lehnerts estimate that Saturday’s run will raise at least $30,000 to provide housing, education, and rehabilitation services for young girls rescued from trafficking.
“As parents, Mark and I feel very strongly about this issue,” says Dr. Lehnert. “Our daughters are our personal motivation to actively help the homeless and runaway girls who fall victim to trafficking predators. We want to model the importance of exercise and a passion for community service for our girls. Last year, our oldest daughter ran; it was her first 5K event ever. She’s running again this year, and her sister may also run or walk the race, while our youngest will be my helper at the medical tent.”
“We invite everyone to come out and join us,” says Dr. Lehnert. “You’ll be raising money for an important cause, getting a healthy workout, and we’ll be available to answer your questions. It’s going to be a great day that will really matter to trafficked children who need our help.”
Click here, for event registration information.