"Making a Difference" is a family affair for the Russell's of Lakeland. They're going a great distance and to "new heights" to help children in Africa. This is an event photo of their upcoming '50 Miles for $50K' fundraiser, where they will kite board from Miami to the Florida Keys. (Courtesy of www.facebook.com/FreeRide836)
Lakeland, Florida-- The Russell family of Lakeland - Mark and his three sons aged 12 to 17 - will be kite boarding from Miami to the Florida Keys within the next month.
Their extreme journey is called "50 miles for $50,000." The money they're collecting will benefit Orphan's Heart and go toward building an orphanage in Tanzania, Africa.
"I'm going to raise money for kids in Africa so that's pretty awesome," added 12-year-old Trey Russell.
The Russell's and about a dozen others will "soar" soon.
"We've got a number of professional riders- nine professional riders that have come along side us and are helping to raise money," Mark adds.
Despite the name (50 miles for $50,000), the trip actually covers about 68 miles of shoreline and in the surf, it's more like 100-150 miles!
"This is truly like the marathon of kite boarding," said Mark.
The family came up with the idea because they wanted to make a difference.
"Five years ago, we went on a mission trip to visit a malnutrition center and help out with the kids there, and really that was the first time we'd reached out overseas," explained Mark. "It just spoke to our hearts. What we want to do is initially house these kids, but provide them with everything- from housing, to food, to education- and really give them life skills so they can be successful."
Tracey Russell watches and supports her husband and sons from the sidelines.
"I thought it was absolutely crazy at first, but it's been amazing- amazing to see my husband have a dream and it actually take flight, and it's an amazing cause," said Russell. "With the first home, the whole entire project will launch. So that would be great for 12 children to literally be rescued."
Their efforts could, "really impact the world and...really make a tangible difference in the lives of children in 3rd world countries," Russell added.
Visit the Freeride website for more trip info, and more on how you can get involved. You can also check out their Facebook page here.