Harris Stolzenberg, with the assistance of his brother Michael Stolzenberg and future MIT classmate Corey Walsh, have set up Mikey’s Run in an effort to aid the Boston Marathon bombing victims. The organization hopes to sponsor Harris as he runs in the 2014 Boston Marathon. All donations will go to providing prosthesis and other support for the victims of the tragedy.
Through a question and answer session with Harris, the founder sought to explain the organization’s goals as well as highlighting how others can get involved.
Adrienne Bracken: What are your ultimate aspirations in beginning Mikey’s Run? What goals have you set for the group, and what goals have you set for yourself in this endeavor?
Harris Stolzenberg: Going into this, we thought if we could raise enough money to help one victim then it would be worth it. Michael could not be where he is today without the support he has gotten from everyone in our local community. We wanted to give these victims hope and reassure them that we are looking out for them. Now that the word has gotten out, we think we can do a lot more than just help one person. We hope to raise at least 1 million dollars to give to victims to help them cover the costs of amputations and prostheses. Also, Michael wants to be able to talk to the victims in person. Michael provides a perfect example that there are NO LIMITS. In the long run, I believe Michael has the ability to impact more than just the Boston victims. There are millions of amputees out there who aren’t getting the needed support. Once we reach our goal for the Boston victims, we will set up a 501(c)(3) to help all amputees who are in need of assistance.
AB: What motivations or inspirations have served you in initiating this group?
HS: My brother was the whole inspiration for this project!
AB: Your story about your brother has obviously impacted you. What words would you offer to the victims and their families struggling through hardships?
HS: A lot of people are scared when they think about losing a limb, and for a good reason. What they are going through now is not easy, and won’t be easy no matter how much support we give them. However, it is very important that the victims and their families have a positive attitude and to know that they are not alone. They have the support of millions of people to get them through these rough times. Michael proved to me that with a positive attitude anything is possible!
AB: You must have others helping you take on a mission so large. What does the breakdown of responsibilities within the organization look like?
HS: Right now it’s very chaotic. As of now this is a 3-man team.
(I) respond to all of the emails of supporters, answering questions for news agencies, interviews with news agencies. Corey Walsh, future MIT classmate of mine, set up the website, created an Imgur that went viral, a reddit post and also helps respond to emails and is trying his best to contact news agencies. Mikey is just 13 so he is doing his best to get used to all of the attention. We have had a lot of interviews the (past) couple of days so he’s still trying to grasp the magnitude of this whole project.
AB: A lot of people, particularly high school and college-aged students, feel as though they do not have the resources to make a difference. What would you say to them or to those wanting to start a group for a cause?
HS: If you approach your high school about having a fund raiser to help this cause I am sure they would be more than willing (to) help out. You don’t need to raise a thousand dollars, every dollar counts. For college students, I know a lot of (Fraternities) and Sororities are very into fundraising. Any event that you are able to coordinate will make a difference! For those that can’t fundraise, if you could just share the website (Mikeysrun.com), like Mikey’s Run on FB, or #Mikeysrun on Twitter that would be a huge help as well!
As of Wednesday evening at 4:45, the website has raised $12,866 since its launch on April 22.