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Woman begins cross-country charity run in LA

July 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Sandy Powell is darting from Los Angeles to New York City on foot to set a Guinness world record.

Tuesday was day one of what will likely be a two-month journey of 12 hours of running per day.

But setting a new record isn't her only goal. She's doing it to benefit and raise awareness for AIDS Orphans Rising, a religious organization that helps provide food, housing and education to children who have been orphaned by the disease.

"My father and mom instilled in me never to give up or quit, and my dad's always said, 'When you start something, you finish it. If you have to walk, you walk,' and that's just something that's always stayed with me," Powell said.

Perhaps the only thing she's more passionate about than running is the children she's worked with for three decades. Powell teaches kids at an acute care hospital in Virginia. Many of them are homeless and abused.

"They have been hurt in such traumatic ways, and yet, they come in with a smile, they come in wanting to hug you," Powell said. "Their life has been so messed up, and yet, they don't give up."

It's a lesson she carries with her every step of the way, one she hopes she can give back as she pounds the back roads of America.

"I just don't think about quitting in anything I've done. I always tell the kids there's no such word as 'I can't.' You can try," she said.


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