Bridging the pro-life/pro-choice divide

// Run/walk event to help buy ultrasound machines

On Sept. 19 a special walk/run event will be happening in Tacoma to help illuminate hope in the lives of pregnant women in crisis. Organized by a group called 4US, the goal is to raise $150,000 for five new ultrasound machines for Care Net Pregnancy Centers and other such centers in Washington state.

Actually the event is more than just a walk/run - it also features a bike ride, a motorcycle rally and festival with food vendors and music. The day's events will include:

• Bicycle Ride - Ride 5, 17, 33 or 62 miles across Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Gig Harbor and Point Defiance Park. The Family Fun 5-mile ride group will start at 10:30 a.m.

• Fun Run - 5K and 10K race through an old-growth forest and along Commencement Bay to finish in a beautiful Japanese garden. Kids can enjoy a toddler trot and diaper dash at 11 a.m.

• Motorcycle Ride - Roll your Hog for 55 miles along a course highlighting Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Gig Harbor, the North End and Point Defiance Park. Enjoy a free pancake breakfast, then set off among rolling hills, winding roads and spectacular scenery and finish with post-rally fun and food.

        • Walk - A  4.5K walk under an emerald canopy and along azure waters to finish in a tranquil Japanese garden. There will also be an option to walk a shorter 1K course.

• Family Fun Festival - Spend the day at the Fun 4 US Family Festival for live music, food, inflatables, climbing walls, low-cost lunches and more.

Visitors should dress appropriately for their event. Proper attire includes biking clothes for riders, running gear for runners, a light jacket for walkers, leather jackets for motorcycle riders, diapers for diaper dashers. Participants should also prepare for weather conditions. The activities are wheelchair accessible but there are some trails and a steep descent and climb on the walk/run course.

Founded in 2005, the all-volunteer charity 4US raises funds to purchase ultrasound machines for pregnancy centers that provide entirely free services for as long as care is needed. Founder Diego Wendt said he started the charity five years ago when he and his wife were challenged by a friend to do something to help pregnant women in crisis.

"We decided to take on the controversial issue of abortion in a non-controversial way and try to take the politics out of the issue," he said. "Pro-life advocates are often accused of caring more for 'a bunch of cells' than a baby and mother post-birth. Pro-choice advocates believe abortion should be 'safe, legal and rare.' 4US seeks to bring people of good will together on common ground by helping the woman where she needs it most and making abortions rare through choice. In four years we've provided seven machines to centers that provide entirely free services to pregnant women in crisis."

This event will be from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Point Defiance Park. There will be a free pancake breakfast, provided by Knights of Columbus Council 809, from 6:30-9:45 a.m. Admission for the event is $10 for adults, depending upon event, ages 10 and under are free. To join the activities, potential participants can register online at www.4us.org/Registration/tabid/85/Default.aspx or in person at Point Defiance Park on Sept. 18 from 1-5 p.m., or Sept. 19 from 7-9 a.m. Kids must have parent/guardians sign a waiver. To ride the longer distances alone, kids must be at least 16 years old. Kids 10 and under are free but must still register.

Point Defiance Park is located at 5400 N. Pearl St. For more information, e-mail Wendt at Diego@4US.org or visit www.4us.org. Visitors can also look up the organization on Facebook.

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