September 16, 2017
BENEFITING: ACHON UGANDA CHILDRENS FUND
A large group of us will be running the upcoming Portland Marathon on October 8 on behalf of the Achon Uganda Children's Fund. We are reaching out to you to join our team and assist us in raising $50,000.
Julius Achon’s The Boy Who Runs tells the story of how he, after being kidnapped and forced to serve as a child soldier at the age of 12, survived and, against all odds, thrived. Julius later became a world-class runner with a lifelong commitment to making the world a better place.
In 2003, while training near his village in Uganda, he took orphans into his own home. That selfless act evolved into the Achon Uganda Children’s Fund, which today provides housing for dozens of children and healthcare for families in the area.
Julius embarked on this journey with a remarkable positive spirit and never an ounce of bitterness. His grace, humility, and compassion have inspired me to reconsider my life’s priorities and the potential I have to do more of for others in need.
I hope you read Julius’s short history and decide to help us reach our goal. You can participate by contributing to support one of our runners or by becoming a team member yourself and running on October 8!
Thank you in advance for your consideration and for making a positive and lasting contribution.
Julius Achon grew up in a small village, Awake, 40 miles northeast of Lira in northern Uganda. At age 12, in 1987, he was kidnapped by a militant coalition called the Lord’s Resistance Army that had rebelled against the Ugandan government. The militants forced Julius to become a child soldier.
Three months later, Julius escaped. He returned to his village and, soon after, returned to school and began running. His talents landed him a scholarship in 1990 to attend school at Makerere High School in the capital city of Kampala.
By age 17, his running had attracted the attention of several Ugandan sports officials. At the 1994 World Junior Championships in Portugal, he ran the 1,500. He won the race, wearing shoes for the first time in competition.
The victory brought Uganda its first World Junior gold medal. His performance also caught the eye of John Cook, an American track coach who brought him to George Mason University in Virginia on a scholarship. Julius went on to compete for Uganda in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, both times serving as captain of the Ugandan Olympic team.
While training near his village in 2003, he encountered a group of orphans and couldn’t help but take them into his home. That was the beginning of the Achon Uganda Children’s Fund. Today Julius lives in Uganda’s capital of Kampala and travels frequently to Lira, where the Achon Uganda Children’s Fund now houses and protects dozens of children. He also travels to his home village of Awake, now the site of the Kristina Health Center, a rural clinic that serves hundreds of severely sick or injured patients every month.
The mission of the Achon Uganda Children’s Fund is to improve quality of life in rural Northern Uganda through access to health care and education, improvements to infrastructure, and exposure to opportunities in sport and means of self-sufficiency. AUCF undertakes all projects in partnership with native Ugandans, with the goal of transitioning to a state of self-sustainability and independence from outside assistance.