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Norwalk Runner Tops $1,500 In Fundraising For Sexual Assault Center

Damion Martin recently completed a half marathon to raise funds for the The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education, which is based in Stamford. Photo Credit: Contributed
Veleska Martin, left, her husband, Damion and son Oliver are the people on Norwalk-based Team Martin. Damion plans to run half marathons in every state and raise funds for local charities. Photo Credit: Contributed
Oliver Martin, second from right, presents a check to Ivonne Zucco. Also shown are Damion Martin, left, and Gayle Weinstein, Board President of The Center. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk runner Damion Martin recently completed a half-marathon in Chicago and raised more than $1,500 for The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in Stamford. Martin also plans to run the SONO Half Marathon on Oct. 15 to benefit The Center.

Martin’s mission is to complete a half marathon in every state by the time he turns 50. The 38-year-old runner has mobilized his family to help fuel his efforts, and together they are making an impact as Team Martin. Martin’s wife, photographer Veleska Martin, documents their trips and coordinates the crowd funding efforts for Team Martin.

“It is really up to each one of us to improve society, to help people where we live. I wanted my son to understand that.” -- Damion Martin

With every half marathon Martin runs, Team Martin selects a local charity to be the recipient of the donations they receive. “Taking this on has been a great way for me and my family to see the country, but also support organizations that we think are doing great work right here at home,'' Martin said. Readers can support his run for The Center by visiting his fundraising page.

Driving across the country with Veleska and Oliver, 7, it is Martin’s hope not only to create lasting family memories, but also impart important values to Oliver. “It is really up to each one of us to improve society, to help people where we live. I wanted my son to understand that.”

That is why Team Martin selected The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education as the charity to run for at the Mad to the Bone half-marathon. According to Martin: “The Center is doing amazing work in our community and I wanted to acknowledge their work on this last run. The K-12 prevention education programs that they facilitate in schools throughout Lower Fairfield County are really important. Empowering our kids is essential. The Center is helping my family and so many families, by having these vital conversations in school.”

Team Martin presented a check recently for $1,550 to The Center, whose programs support residents in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton.

Ivonne Zucco, Executive Director of The Center, said there has long been a correlation between sexual violence and running that must be acknowledged: “We are very thankful for Damion and his family's efforts to raise money for our cause. Connecting with runners is an important piece for us. We understand that there is a lot of violence out there directed towards runners. Females more specifically have to worry about harassment, sexual assault and other kind of attacks, sometimes resulting in murder. By connecting with runners in our community, we take a stand behind the premise that every runner has the right to run free.”

People can join The Center’s team at the SONO Half Marathon and 5k in October. For information on how to join, e-mail sonorun@thecenter-ct.org

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