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ND Right to Life hosts inaugural 5k

| Friday, September 26, 2014

Notre Dame Right to Life will hold the inaugural Run for Their Lives 5K Saturday morning, and all proceeds from the race will benefit the Women’s Care Center of South Bend.

Junior Christiann Tavitas, co-commissioner of the Joys of Life Team, or JOLT, division of the Right to Life group, came up with the idea for the 5K alongside her co-commissioner senior Sarah Karchunas.

“We were going to do one last year, but it just didn’t work out with the timing,” Tavitas said. “We kind of do the same events every year, so we thought that a 5K would be cool. JOLT is meant to promote the pro-life movement through celebrating life and promoting a culture of life, so we do this through campus-wide events to get the whole community involved.”

“What’s really cool about this event is that we’ve reached out to the further community and have heard from multiple people who work at the Women’s Care Center that a big group of them are coming, along with other faculty and members of the community and their children,” Karchunas said. “So I’m really excited that this is spreading further than just the student body.”

The race will kick off at 9 a.m. at the South Quad flag pole, with registration beginning a half hour earlier. Registration fees are $15 and include a t-shirt as well as a coffee and bagel breakfast at the finish line. Students can also register online at Student Shop ND, which is linked on the ND Right to Life homepage.

“All runners, walkers and supporters are welcome,” a Right to Life group email said. Friends, family and members of the outside community are encouraged to come and show support for both the 5K and the pro-life cause, the email stated.

“I volunteered at the Women’s Care Center my freshman year,” Tavitas said. “They’re a really moving and powerful organization for women in crisis pregnancies, and they really need our support, so we’re donating all of the funds to them.”

The Women’s Care Center, according to the Right to Life website, has four locations in South Bend and Mishawaka, in which “free and confidential counseling, support and education” is offered to women who find themselves in unplanned or crisis pregnancies. Members of the Right to Life group volunteer at the Center every year, helping stock and organize supplies, among other tasks. It has become a community partner of Notre Dame, a relationship that Karchunas and Tavitas said they hope will grow stronger through the race.

“I think this could be a good way for the student body to make a connection to the Women’s Care Center,” Karchunas said, “We’re going to have a couple of people who work there say a few words at the start of the race.”

By welcoming all members of the Notre Dame and South Bend community, in addition to students, Karchunas and Tavitas said they hope to make the Run for Their Lives 5K not only an annual event in the future, but a thriving one that promotes community-wide communication about pregnancy resources and a pro-life attitude.

“A lot of people have this bad image of pro-lifers as anti-abortion, but we’re not just a political club,” Tavitas said. “We’ve said from the start that we’re trying to build this event and hopefully make this an annual event in the future.”

“Looking at the reason why we’re doing all of these things and why we’re making all of these efforts, there’s a positivity, this joy for life, and that’s what we want to spread,” Karchunas said.

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About Andrea Vale

Andrea Vale is a freshman at Notre Dame who has previously written for both the Sun Chronicle and the Huffington Post. She plans to major in English with a Creative Writing concentration and a minor in Journalism.

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