WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) — A Waynesboro woman is raising money and awareness for the Greater Augusta Coalition Against Adult Abuse (GACAA) by running and walking 200 miles.
“Part of the work that I do is trying to prevent financial exploitation of the elderly, so this is a cause that’s really near and dear to my heart and something that I care about a lot professionally and also personally,” Stephanie Painter said.
Painter said she has always had an interest in elder issues growing up.
“I was really close to my great grandmother growing up, she was kind of like a second parent for me. We did everything together,” Painter said. “I’ve kind of always had this deep passion for elder issues since I was kid because of her.”
Painter joined GACAA in 2014 and has been also working professionally to prevent elder abuse.
“Kind of seeing the impact of what elder abuse can do to someone now in my professional career, it does kind of light that fire even more,” Painter said.
Since Sunday, Painter has been working toward her 200-mile goal, and made it to her final stretch Wednesday, March 3. As someone who used to be a long-distance runner, 200 miles has been something Painter has wanted to accomplish for years now.
“I recently took a lot of time off from running long distance due to an eating disorder issue. This is my first race back in the game, and 200 miles was something I had my eye on the past four years, so I figured let’s go for it,” Painter said.
But it hasn’t been easy. Nine miles in to her goal, Painter rolled her ankle after being run off the road by a car. But she didn’t want to give up.
“I did make the promise to finish for the fundraiser, and I always kind of keep my promises,” Painter said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Painter had raised $925 for GACAA.
“That can go to GACAA’s annual training, which they put on for free to raise awareness about elder abuse to give resources to law enforcement and commonwealth’s attorneys on how to investigate and prosecute elder abuse and also for financial institutions to locate elder abuse,” Painter said.