Name: Griffin Salzer
Organization: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Town: Beaufort and Charleston. He spends part of the week in Charleston attending College of Charleston and part working as a psychiatric tech at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.
Charity work: Salzer has set up boxes around Beaufort, where people can leave donations for the hospital. He decided to combine two of his goals -- staying in shape and raising money for St. Jude's. So once a week, he runs around town, picking up the donations.
Involved for: Two and a half months
Running with reason. I do have ambitions to be a pediatric oncologist. I also love exercising. I exercise seven days a week, usually about an hour and a half to two hours.
Running is something that took me a long time to get used to doing. I'm not naturally a runner. To me, the things you work hardest to attain are the things you come to appreciate the most. I just felt like I needed another reason to run, so I created the charity for both philanthropic purposes and helping me achieve a goal of someday being a pediatric oncologist, and also to make me better with my exercising. And it's done just that. After every run, I feel there was a purpose behind it. ... It's been great. It's so rewarding that I can send out these checks to St. Jude. You know, I could've put out 50 boxes around Beaufort and gone around in a car to pick them up, but I would've lost a bit of a personal element to it by running to pick up just a few boxes.
Boxes around Beaufort. There are seven (boxes) right now. And I've contacted St. Jude's. I'm trying to get more to set up on Lady's Island. I'm trying to see if they can't help me out with the boxes because the ones I have set up now, it cost me $120, so they weren't cheap. ... One thing I had to do was find businesses that had good counter traffic but didn't have tip jars at the counters, because I didn't want to compete with the workers. ... So I've done very good, more than I could imagine. I have one in The Chocolate Tree, Bitty's Flower Shop, Bricks on Boundary, Lowcountry Produce, one in Monkey's Uncle toy shop on Bay Street, one in Bay Street Outfitters and one at Lulu Burgess. ... Once I get more boxes, I'm trying to spread them out. Not only does that collect more, but it makes me better by running. (I pick up the boxes) once every two weeks, usually on a Friday or Saturday. I've collected more than $450.
The goal. Honestly, I feel like I could do this as long as I'm running. If I were to set a monetary goal, I think $10,000 would be a really good number. And as long as the businesses don't have a problem with my boxes being set up, then I'll keep them there.
A new lifestyle. I really do get emotional -- not only about medicine and these kids at St. Jude's -- but also about exercise. I know it might sound strange, but ... I weighed about 243 pounds two or three years ago, and I had all sorts of physical illnesses -- lower back pain, acid reflux, snoring. And now I'm about 195 and run eight miles on any day I want. ... It really becomes a whole new lifestyle and a part of you. I do donate $1 for every mile I run on collection day. It equates to about $6 or $7 every collection day. It's just another touch that I added. I'm so fortunate to even do this. I'm fortunate enough that every day I can wake up and run. And on the other end of the spectrum, these kids are really fortunate if they can wake up and have a chance to live. And to me, that's what's worth running for.
Follow reporter Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.
- In Good Faith: 'Being with 'poor people' is an eye-opener and a heart-changer,' Oct. 24, 2014
- In Good Faith: 'It literally gives them hope that somebody cares', Oct. 17, 2014
- In Good Faith: 'There are a lot of people living in cars here', Oct. 10, 2014
- Running for St. Jude on Facebook
- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital