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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 17:21 EDT

Red Dog Run to Benefit Boys and Girls Club

August 7, 2008

By Erin Castaneda, Journal-World, Lawrence, Kan.

Aug. 7–As a child, Don “Red Dog” Gardner would have appreciated a Boys and Girls Club to meet friends and get him out of his foster homes for an afternoon.

From ages 3 to 8, Gardner lived with several elderly people in Lawrence as part of a foster care program, he said.

“Boys and Girls Club would have helped,” he said. “It would’ve been fun.”

Since he didn’t have the opportunity, he now does what he can as a community fitness leader to help children benefit from the program.

In 2005, Gardner, leader of Red Dog’s Dog Days, organized the Boys and Girls Club Red Dog Run to raise money for youth activities.

The four-mile run and two-mile walk begins at 8 a.m. Saturday on the Kansas River levee.

“I’m hoping a lot of people will go,” Gardner said. “Even if you don’t want to run, go down there and support it because those kids need the support.”

The event attracted nearly 400 people last year and raised $24,000 from sponsors and participants, said Erika Zimmerman, club director of development.

“He has been a great supporter of ours for many years, and it’s a really cool thing to have someone who is so concerned with health and fitness and nutrition be a champion of the Boys and Girls Club,” Zimmerman said of Gardner. “That’s really exciting for our kids to see that, and the support he gives us is just amazing.”

Two businesses are participating in the Round Up for the local Boys and Girls Club. J.C. Penney is asking customers whether they would like to round their purchase up by $1 to benefit the club. The benefit will continue at J.C. Penney, 3311 Iowa, until Aug. 17. Dillons stores will participate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 23. At the stores, members and volunteers will be available to answer questions and showcase the programs of the club.

The local club serves approximately 1,200 children daily at eight sites and 5,000 children per year through various programs.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Journal-World, Lawrence, Kan.

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