Harlem woman runs 240 miles to D.C., raises money for Planned Parenthood ahead of inauguration

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HARLEM, Manhattan — Dismayed over election results and Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration, a Harlem woman has gathered a group of supporters, laced up her running shoes, and left the city with her sights on D.C. and raising funds for Planned Parenthood — a favorite target of the incoming administration and Republican-led Congress.

Alison Mariella Désir, along with three others, on Jan. 18, 2017, began a 240-mile run to Washington D.C. from Harlem in an effort to raise money and awareness for Planned Parenthood as Donald Trump prepares to become president of the U.S. (GoFundMe)

Alison Mariella Désir, along with three others, on Jan. 18, 2017, began a 240-mile run to Washington D.C. from Harlem in an effort to raise money and awareness for Planned Parenthood as Donald Trump prepares to become president of the U.S. (GoFundMe)

Alison Mariella Désir, who goes by the online moniker Powdered Feet, created a GoFundMe account on Jan. 2 with the goal of raising $44,000 for Planned Parenthood and a plan to run 240 miles from her home neighborhood of Harlem to Washington D.C. in time for the Women’s March —an anti-Trump event taking place Saturday, following Inauguration Day.

She has since beat her own goal by more than $35,000, encouraged a shout-out from Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, and inspired dozens of other people to join the run.

A “core” group of women — Désir and three others — left Harlem Wednesday evening and plan to complete the run by Saturday, and others have promised to join.

Runners interested in supporting the cause, but unable to trek 240 miles — the equivalent of running roughly two NYC Marathons daily, according to Désir — are participating in smaller runs along the way, and logging on this Google spreadsheet when, where and how much they have or plan to run.

Post election, Désir says she found herself “unable to reconcile the election and the impact of what a (he who shall not be named) presidency will mean for many Americans.”

She wishes she had done more to get Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton elected, and now is set on ramping up her efforts to protect women’s health and right to choose, as well as the rights of LGBTQ and undocumented people, and prevent further “irreparable damage to our environment.”

It’s no secret that this incoming Administration and Congress have a target on women’s right to choose and women’s health. There will never come a time that I look back and wonder, ‘what could I have done to protect that right?’ … We will arrive in DC on January 20th to join all of our powerful, beautiful, and courageous sisters in the Women’s March. There will be four of us running, but we’ll be running for all of us.

As the “core” group and their supporters run, donate, and tweet encouraging words regarding Désir’s cause, Republicans are working to strip all federal funding from Planned Parenthood, and continue their efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a move causing concern that birth control costs will increase if the law, which makes contraceptives free under insurance, is repealed.