It’s been a while since I posted anything about Iowa. John and I haven’t been able to visit over the last year and a half and I have no new Field of Dreams photos to share (if you’re a new follower, John is originally from Iowa and we previously spent about a month of the year there). However, I have something even more epic to announce: Our nephew will be running across Iowa for a cause in March and he’s just launched his fundraising campaign!
Running Across Iowa for a Cause
Anthony Kinley will be running 333 miles across Iowa in March 2022 to raise awareness for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), and to help fund the Austin Smith Inclusive Playground in his hometown of Monticello, Iowa.
He has previously completed the Boston Marathon, the R2R2R in the Grand Canyon, several other half and full marathons. This time he’s on an even bigger mission.
The Austin Strong Foundation is a non-profit organization that exists to raise awareness, fund research, and support those families affected by childhood cancers, like DIPG.
“The main goal of the Austin Strong Foundation is research,” said Britt and Mikinzie Smith, who created the Austin Strong Foundation to honor their son, Austin Jeffrey Smith. “But, we believe part of being a successful foundation includes stewardship in our community, facilitating projects that will benefit our youth, and aligning with our mission of helping families.”
“The ability to play is something all children should have the right to enjoy,” adds Anthony, who knew Austin Smith before he lost his battle with DIPG in 2016 at the age of seven.
“He was going through more than I could ever imagine. He needed help with many simple things during his treatment that any other child would not think about, like using his own playground set in his backyard. One day while playing with him on the playground, I noticed how he was still a kid at heart and wanted nothing more than to be able to go down the slide again and again and again. The pure joy he got from the simplest acts of life has stuck with me ever since then. Austin truly was a superhero.”
Anthony hopes to raise $5,000 to support the construction of the Austin Smith Inclusive Playground.
On November 15th, the first concrete was poured for the playground foundation and in the spring of 2022 the organization will host an official groundbreaking ceremony in Monticello.
“The ability to play is something all children should have the right to enjoy,” Anthony says. “I have been truly blessed in my life and I want to give back to those who are not able to experience the opportunities that I had. The Austin Smith Inclusive Playground has the opportunity to make every child feel as free as I do when I run.”
Find more information about this run on this website, and you can donate to support his efforts and the cause through GoFundMe.
Come March, I’ll certainly have more to post about Iowa!