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Running across the country without shoes, for shoes

November 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A remarkable achievement for a young woman with a burning desire to get shoes for needy kids: She did it by running across the country, mostly barefoot."It's just kind of overwhelming knowing that I just ran here from Boston," said Rae Heim, 18, who ran across the country.

Her cross-country run took seven months and raised donations and awareness for Soles4Souls, a charity that gives shoes to kids in the United States and around the world. And most of the time, she was running in their shoes -- or lack thereof.

"To me it wasn't really about barefoot running, it was more about making it to the ocean and getting shoes on kids' feet, and I need to do that in whatever way, so I just had to listen to my body, and if I needed to put on a pair of shoes, I put on a pair of shoes, but for the most part, I was barefoot," said Heim.

Not only was it an incredible personal feat, she also earned $10,000 along the way, plus 7,500 pairs of shoes. Wednesday, Skechers donated another thousand pairs.

"She will literally help almost 20,000 people with the shoes and the money that she's raised," said Soles4Souls CEO Buddy Teaster. "At 18, that's a pretty powerful thing to say."

Her boyfriend, Adam Hrabovsky, is in a wheelchair. He finished the journey with her, along with other supporters, sending a powerful message.

"Anyone can do anything, and if they're willing to do it, they will, and they can, and I never doubted her from the very beginning," said Hrabovsky.

"I just think you can't take anything for granted and you have to kind of look around a little bit to see what you can do to help, because you don't necessarily need to run across the country to get shoes on kids' feet," said Heim.


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