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CUPE National Environment Committee Co-Chair Carolyn Unsworth from the Hospital Employees Union (HEU), along with National Executive Board liaison to the Environment Committee Ken Robinson will Run for Water this coming weekend. The event is held in Abbotsford, BC and Burlington, Ontario.

Run for Water is a fundraiser to help supply clean, public drinking water to Ethiopian villages where it is estimated 80 per cent of the population lacks access to sustainable, public water. Run for Water is partnered with Hope International, which has made access to clean water the cornerstone of its international projects.

More than two million deaths occur annually from waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery, the majority of which are children under the age of six. Children living in the developing world are 520 times more likely to die from diarrheal diseases than children living in Canada. These deaths are preventable. Clean water from wells and capped water sources can prevent much of the suffering that results from the use of contaminated water.

Sister Unsworth is motivated to run because she often thinks about how lucky she is to be able to turn on a tap and get clean water any time. She added: “Our bodies need water to function. The idea of water being something that only rich people can afford sickens me. As a nurse aide, I see what dehydration does to a body. I believe in union pride. Being part of a union running team has always appealed to me. Environment and global justice issues are closely tied together in the Run for Water, which will raise money to build wells in Africa and builds community allies.”

Brother Robinson is taking part in the run: “To raise the profile of HEU/CUPE in the community, to raise the profile to the importance of clean water in global and local communities, and to start our HEU running team (looking for a name) for future events, preferably events that have an environmental link. I’m also hoping to drop a pound or two and a pant size too! A perfect win/win.”

Sister Unsworth will run the 10K, while Brother Robinson will run the half-marathon event.

HEU member Josh Charette will run the half marathon with Robinson, while Sister Rhonda Bruce will join Sister Unsworth to run the 10K.

Others can take part by contributing to the event here: runforwater.