GLENDORA, Calif. (KABC) -- A Glendora woman is making a statement with her feet and her heart. Katie Strong is running across the nation to raise awareness and money for veterans.
Forty years ago, Strong ran across the country to raise awareness for women in the Olympics. Now, she's doing it again to raise funds for U.S. veterans.
"The marathon for the Olympics was denied to women, because they didn't feel that we could run that distance, and so I thought if I run 26 miles a day across the country, then they'll have to admit that women can run a marathon in the Olympics," Strong said.
Six years later in the 1984 Olympics, women's marathon was introduced as an Olympic sport, and the U.S. took the gold.
Imagine running one and a half marathons every day for over two months - that's precisely what Strong plans to do.
"I'll be running 30 to 40 miles each day this time. As a fundraising and awareness effort, I'm running across the United States, 3,000 miles from the West Coast to the Arlington National Cemetery, and from there to the U.S. Capitol, I'll be running the last leg with friends and family and veterans," Strong said.
As a clinical psychologist, Strong is familiar with PTSD and mental illness issues. She was shocked to discover that 22 veterans commit suicide every day.
"Service dogs are one of the best interventions to help military veterans with PTSD," Strong said.
But with thousands of veterans on the wait list, it can often take a couple of years to get a service dog.
"I can't help but think that some of those 22 would still be here if they had a service dog, because some of the things those dogs do for the veterans, it's just almost miraculous," Strong said.
Many of Strong's family members fought for our country.
"My father, stepfather and father-in-law were all military. They were very different, and they set aside those differences to help one another and to help our country, and so that's where I got the idea for 'USA Strong,'" she said, describing
If you want to donate do USA Strong for Veterans, visit Strong's GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/usa-strong-for-veterans.
Two of Strong's four sons will accompany her on the 75-day cross-country fundraising effort. They will plant 22 flags to represent the 22 veterans that we lose to suicide each day.
ABC7 Salutes Glendora woman running to raise money, awareness for veterans