HINSDALE, IL (June 23, 2010) – Fifteen women from Hinsdale Covenant Church raised $2,000 for Break the Chains by competing in a local 18-mile triathlon even though most of them had never participated in the event before.
The athletes ranged in age from 13 to 50. Church member Jennifer Peckenpaugh began recruiting them several months prior to the race and says she would have counted herself fortunate to have enlisted five racers. The women began training in April for the June 13 competition.
Although most of the women were anxious prior to the start of the race, they found their stride once it started. As if the course wasn’t long enough, Ramona Brorson added about nine minutes to her time when she missed a turn and did not immediately recognize her mistake.
Brorson said that thinking about the children caught up in sexual slavery, including girls in DuPage County where she lives, gave her the strength to continue through her exhaustion.
Law-enforcement officials estimate that 300,000 girls ages 10-17 are trapped in sex slavery in North America today. The lucrative “business” is on the increase, surpassing selling drugs or weapons.
The Hinsdale women were as interested in raising awareness as they were in collecting funds. The team wore racing shirts that advertised Break the Chains, the Evangelical Covenant Church Department of Women Ministries anti-human trafficking effort.
Katie Stromberg said numerous people asked about the cause. “People were really taking notice of the shirts.”
The Hinsdale congregation also learned more about trafficking, which enslaves an estimated 27 million people worldwide. “The whole church was behind us, and it feels good that so many people were empowered to do it,” said Peckenpaugh. Most of the women already are saying they plan to race again next year.
Athletes wanting to raise awareness and funds through athletic events are encouraged to register online through Break the Chains. For a minimum pledge/donation of $50, racers will receive a Break the Chains dry-wicking shirt. Supporters also can register to sponsor specific athletes.
For more information on what the Covenant is doing to fight human trafficking, click here.
Editor’s note: Pictured in the accompanying photo are: front – Julianna Burlet; kneeling (from left) – Katrina Burlet, Jenna Ricketts, Katie Stromberg, Jennifer Peckenpaugh, and Jennifer Barry; back row (from left) – Ramona Brorson, Sarah Werkema, Laura Marth, Annete Burlet, Amy Duckhorn, and Lauren Goodwin; not pictured – Rebecca Morey, Hanna Cisco, and Julie Waterman.