Local nonprofit raising scholarship money for students in need
A Mansfield-based nonprofit organization, Anthony’s Legacy of Love, is trying to raise $30,000 for college…
A Mansfield-based nonprofit organization, Anthony’s Legacy of Love, is trying to raise $30,000 for college students with autoimmune diseases.
From now until Oct. 30, the organization will host a 5K/10K walk or run, but online. Residents can register by visiting the nonprofit’s website, signing up and paying the $35 fee.
Then they can download and print an electronic bib to wear during their 5K or 10K walk or run. Participants can walk or run in several locations, including Mansfield Park and Smithfield Park, at any point between now and the 30th.
Once they do, they should post their miles on the Anthony’s Legacy of Love Facebook page, said Zachyra Rodriguez, the president and founder of the nonprofit.
Rodriguez is hosting the fundraiser online to keep people in small groups, of five or six, as they go about the event. A large group marathon, featuring many people leaving from the same starting line, running alongside each other, would not be in line with social distancing policies during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to Rodriguez.
Thirty three people have signed up for the 5K/10K so far, said the president. Their registration fees and additional donations have added up to almost $1,200, she added. But the nonprofit is looking for a lot more than that.
“Having a scholarship will be very helpful because a burden is lifted,” said Rodriguez of the students she is trying to help. “The money goes toward their tuition, books and being able to help with particular needs.”
The founder would know. She started the nonprofit after her son, Anthony Rodriguez Scott, died from an autoimmune illness, Still’s disease, which inflames and ultimately destroys a victim’s joints, in 2017.
Since founding the organization, Rodriguez has focused its mission on providing scholarships to students who are able to live with those types of diseases. And she has learned a lot about the challenges they face in a college setting.
A student with a joint disease may have trouble getting to class, Rodriguez said. A student with diabetes may have to carry food around to eat at the right time, she added.
Extra money can help a college kid buy the books and do the readings that can make up for missing classes, or help one maintain a healthy supply of food to carry around, according to Rodriguez. Anthony’s Legacy of Love attempts to fill these gaps, she concluded.
“One person reached out and said she had three different types of autoimmune illnesses,” Rodriguez said. “And so it’s tough for her to continue school.”
The Columbus resident is hoping to raise $30,000 with the 5K/10K to give between $2,000 and $5,000 to each student who applies for a scholarship. If successful, the event will help between six and 15 students.
But only one person has applied for a scholarship so far, and the event began on Saturday.
“We’re very behind,” Rodriguez said. “We need all the help we can get.”
A local news and sports reporter around Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 2015, Jarrad Daniel Saffren joined The Burlington County Times’ award-winning local news team in October 2019, adding business, education and town government features to the coverage. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JarradSaff. Please help support local journalism with a subscription to The Burlington County Times.