A big Wink goes from Eye on Jacksonville to the Freed to Run event finishing at the courthouse in downtown Jacksonville Saturday, ending a six-day effort to raise money that will help provide legal services to the poor.
This fundraiser will produce $2.25 million for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid’s Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership.
Runners began the multi-marathon event Monday in Tallahassee. Fourteen relay teams of runners have been involved, completing marathon runs each day. A 5-kilometer run in Jacksonville that ends at the courthouse will be the last leg.
Jacksonville native and Olympic athlete Garrett Scantling will be the lead runner in the 5K event.
Funds from Freed to Run, which is now in its sixth year, are expected to be $1 million, to be matched with $1.25 million from Baptist Health. The total amount will create an endowment that will allow an attorney operating from
Wolfson Children’s Hospital to take referrals from pediatric providers whose patients and their families are facing chronic and debilitating illnesses exacerbated by poverty-related legal issues. The proceeds will also cover support needed to operate the legal partnership.
Through the partnership, Legal Aid has taken on legal issues from access to health coverage to educational accommodations to safe housing matters for nearly 1,600 pediatric patients and their families during the past five years.
Examples of children and families helped in the last year include a child born prematurely whose first 25 days in the NICU were not covered by Medicaid until the NFMLP was able to get retroactive Medicaid established; a woman seeking temporary relative custody of her minor cousin in order to make education and medical decisions for them; and a mother looking to become guardian advocate so she could continue to assist her medically complex child after the child reached the age of 18.