I’m part of a trio of female travelers known as The Lost Girls, and more than five years ago we quit our media jobs to set out together on a yearlong, around the world trip. Now we’re calling ourselves the Runaway Bridesmaids after we asked ourselves a question that many women have often pondered: What were we going to do with our old bridesmaid dresses that our married pals swore we could totally wear again?
Rather than let those expensive dresses collect dust in our closets, we decided to prove our bride friends right, and put them back to use for a good cause. Except the next time we wear them, we’ll be strapping on running shoes instead of heels to run in our dresses and raise money to help children of sex workers with the Runaway Bridesmaids Race.
Runaway Bridesmaids has actually been a long time coming: One of our most life-changing trip experiences happened when we volunteered through Village Volunteers at a school in Kenya and worked with pre-teen girls. We vowed to help girls in need have a shot at an education and other opportunities that we were fortunate enough to have simply due to chance and geography.
Then I read the book Half the Sky and learned that more three million women and girls worldwide are victims of this modern-day slave trade—and many die in their late 20s of AIDS. (In comparison, the peak year of the trans-Atlantic African slave trade was just under 80,000). I wanted to give myself and others a way to join the fight to help break the cycle of sex trafficking. So now we’re teaming up with Village Volunteer’s partner New Light, an organization that gives shelter to the kids of sex workers in India’s largest red light district. By marrying my love of running with a way to give back, Runaway Bridesmaids was born.
First, we’ll be gathering 100 men and women to wear dresses and race The NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile presented by Nissan on September 22, 2012. Next, five of us will be going on to train for and run the ING New York City Marathon in dresses (that’s 26.2 miles!) as Runaway Bridesmaids to continue fundraising for the cause!
How You Can Help Fight Sex Trafficking
1. Take 30 seconds to click on the DONATE button on our fundraising page and get us closer to our $150,000 goal of building a shelter for the victims of sex trafficking and children of sex workers.
2. Take less than 2 minutes and join our TEAM to help us fundraise for the cause, and YOU can change lives!
How You Can Win a Life-Changing Trip
While you may be interested in donating or joining our fundraising team because you’re a passionate person who realizes how important it is to give back, there’s something more in it for you: The person who collects the most pledges for Runaway Bridesmaids and New Light scores a trip to Peru’s Machu Picchu courtesy ofAdventure Life, a company focused on sustainable travel.