Romness was raised in Trapper Creek, AK before moving to Minnesota in 2005 for college. Shortly after graduation in 2009, she began working for WWV, a non-profit organization that focuses on the transformation of impoverished communities in Haiti. In January of 2011, she spent a week in Haiti with WWV and was completely devastated by the lack of clean water. “We met a woman who was so dehydrated she could barely stand," Romness remembers. "When we asked where she got her water, she pointed to a ditch near the shack she lived in - a ditch full of animals and trash. Seeing this compelled me to do something."
Already training for the Twin Cities Marathon, Romness decided to put all miles logged towards a good cause. She began tracking each mile ran on June 1 and to date has recorded over 120 miles covered. Her goal, however, is for the TC Marathon - held on October 2 - to put her at or above her goal of 300 miles total ran for the summer/fall. Each footfall of this running is dedicated to raising funds for the purchase of water sanitation units through WWV, and Romness is seeking sponsors.
A single water purification unit, which costs $500, has the capacity to purify enough water for hundreds of people per day. Clean water is crucial in the struggle against cholera, an illness that has affected thousands of people in Haiti since 2010 and shows no signs of going away. Cholera is waterborne, a bacteria that travels in water sources contaminated by poor sanitation practices and recent heavy rains. These water purification units can help slow, if not cease, the spread of cholera because it kills the bacteria.
“Many Haitian people are literally choosing between not drinking and dying of thirst, or drinking and potentially contracting cholera,” Romness says. “This is simply unacceptable.”
For more information on Romness’ running, and how to support her efforts to bring water purification units to Haiti, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at hopefulnessinhaiti.blogspot.com. "The people whose only source of water is dirty do not have time for us to wait until it is convenient to act."
For more information about World Wide Village, the water purification units, or to set up an interview please contact:
World Wide Village, Inc.
616 Sims Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55130