Supporter Highlight: NYC Marathoner Matt Broughton
By Tracey Stipp, SF Ambassador – Marketing & Volunteer Relations
This week our blog is highlighting another individual, Matt Broughton, who is running in the prestigious ING New York City Marathon on November 4, 2012. The NYC marathon has a $1 million per mile charity campaign, and Matt chose Samaritan’s Feet to be the recipient of his fundraising efforts. A friend who participated in an international shoe distribution in Burundi, Africa, introduced Matt to Samaritan’s Feet. She invited Matt to run the NYC marathon on behalf of Samaritan’s Feet. Matt became more invested on a personal level after helping with a shoe distribution himself and growing in his desire to get shoes to people who really need them. He says, “It’s a simple thing most of us take for granted, but it can change a life. I want to do my part.”
Mat has a love of running and has competed in races and marathons for years, yet this is the first time he has combined his passion for running with raising funds and awareness for an organization. Once he learned about the impact a single pair of shoes can make in a person’s life, as well as the staggering amounts of people who go without a decent pair of shoes or any shoes at all, Matt decided to use his ability to run long distances to raise money for Samaritan’s Feet. Running is a sport that has no barriers for age, sex or race, and it can be done almost anywhere, at anytime. Matt says, “Running can open doors, change lifestyles, and even lives. If it is as simple as providing a pair of shoes, then I want to help make that happen. I have competed in races where others are running for a cause or a tribute. I think this will give new meaning for each step of the race because at the finish line I will have the satisfaction of completing a challenging running course, but also the knowledge that I have helped to make a difference.”
People are surprised to learn that nearly 300 million people around the world go without shoes each day. More people than that are affected by parasitic diseases that could be prevented by wearing proper footwear. Check out Dying Without Shoes to learn more about the dangers of wearing no shoes. Matt declares that until his education through Samaritan’s Feet, he had no idea that lack of shoes causes so many medical problems. He knew that it could cause discomfort and a challenge perhaps, but not to such a severe degree. According to Matt, “The fact that these medical issues are preventable in such an inexpensive way makes providing shoes an important and achievable goal to drastically reduce, or hopefully eliminate, this situation here in our own country as well as all over the world.
As mentioned earlier, Matt volunteered at a local distribution that impressed upon him the vital work that Samaritan’s Feet does. He shares this story: “My job at the shoe distribution where I worked was to be a “runner” who gets shoes while people are being sized for shoes and getting their feet washed. The person I was running for had just finished fitting two cute girls who were ecstatic about their new shoes. The volunteer foot washer then looked at the father and said, ‘What about you?’ He looked at her and responded, ‘I haven’t had a new pair of shoes in three years, everything I do is for my daughters.’ As she took off the father’s tattered shoes with a half lace in one shoe and no lace at all in the other shoe, removed his dirty socks and started washing his feet, I think the dad was close to crying in appreciation for the gift he was about to receive. The whole situation was a rewarding and humbling experience that is not soon forgotten. It is for these people in whose honor I will run the NYC marathon.”
Matt has two daughters who share his enjoyment of running. He is encouraging his family to be more involved with Samaritan’s Feet in the future so that his children have the opportunity to appreciate more of what they have and also to give back to others. It can be easy to take for granted the ability to participate in any sport, even running, and to recognize that even the shoes it takes to run in can be considered a luxury.
Matt concludes by saying, “I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the NYC marathon, and to raise money for an important cause by doing what I love to do best, running. I hope to raise more than just money for Samaritan’s Feet; I hope also to help raise awareness and compassion.”
If you are interested in supporting Matt in his fundraising goal, please visit his fundraising page.