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Michelle Bruns' Fundraiser:

Half 4 Half

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BENEFITING:

Michelle Bruns

THE STORY:

Recently, I read the book (and watched the documentary) "Half the Sky"* by Nicholas Kristoff and his wife Sheryl WuDunn. This helped me to realize that the childhood I've always thought of as "normal" - a girl free to have fun, receive an education, play sports, enjoy friendships, and experience love from family - isn't "normal" for many girls. Far from it. "Around 3 million women and girls (and a small number of boys) worldwide are currently enslaved in the sex trade — bought, held and forced into commercial sex work against their will. This figure may even be on the conservative side, as it doesn’t account for people who were intimidated into prostitution or the millions more under 18 who can’t consent to working in brothels."* As my awareness of the oppression that women and children are facing around the world continues to grow, so does my compassion and motivation to be part of the solution.

The book "Half the Sky"* was inspired by a Chinese proverb that says that ‘women hold up half the sky’. Their power, persistence, courage, etc. is relied upon in their family, their community, and their country. In third world countries, it truly is the women who keep it all together. I want to support "Half the Sky". I want to support these beautiful women and girls living in oppression. So that is why I've decided to help raise awareness and support through the "Half for Half" pursuit.

What's that mean? In June, I am competing in a HALF Ironman (Endurafit Ironman 70.3 "Eagelman") in Cambridge, Maryland. This is a great challenge for me - and quite frankly, the race and the volume of training is overwhelming. Although I remain active and have pursued other athletic endeavors, this is by far the most intimidating. I know the training will be difficult, complex, and certainly a struggle for me - the training will undoubtedly bring about physical pain and "suffering" and will require a lot of mental and emotional endurance. Yet, this is what makes it such a meaningful mission, and a fitting way to raise financial support and prayer support for the women and children who's EVERYDAY life is a struggle, full of physical and emotional pain. My inspiration comes from the bravery and courage that these women and children must put forth every day... just to survive.

Although an IronMan is an individual endeavor, fighting oppression is not. It takes a team effort. It takes us all coming together and taking a stand against the injustice. There are many ways to join the fight - financial support, prayer support, raising personal and community awareness (especially in the US where we are so easily distracted by our comfort and freedom), and many other ways. I've never done this "fundraising/support" thing before, but I am excited about it. I am excited to bring about an opportunity for you to join the fight against the oppression of women and children by joining the "Half for Half" team. Please prayerfully consider making a financial donation, as this will be confirmation you want to join the team. I plan to keep a blog that will include updates of my training and of recent news and updates regarding human trafficking and sex slavery. If you cannot offer financial support but want to join as a prayer partner or are just interested in receiving the blog updates, then please email me (michellebruns@hotmail.com) and let me know.

Whether or not you choose to partner with me, I HIGHLY encourage you to check out the documentary, "Half the Sky" (found on Net-flix streaming or purchased on iTunes or Amazon) or check out the website (www.halftheskymovement.org) to better inform yourself of this humanitarian issue. "If you are convinced you have stumbled across an enormous moral outrage, you cannot merely cast light on the subject. You have to do something to stop it. You have to effect change” (Kristoff). This is my humble effort to effect change.

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Michelle is working on selecting a charity so you can support Half 4 Half.