An article written by the marketing director of Opening Doors, a charity we work with | Amy Schauer

At Opening Doors, it’s our connections that make our mission possible; connections to you, our supporters, and to volunteers, our Board of Directors, staff, and other non-profit organizations. You made it possible for us to serve 255 homeless women and children last year. Today, we are grateful to be able to tell you another inspiring story of hope, inspiration, and giving from another non-profit– Relay Iowa.

The event brings together physical endurance with the will to be part of something bigger.Relay Iowa was born of a love for running and for helping others. Bill & Jill Raine founded Relay Iowa as a way to support Restoring Hope International, an organization that operates the Restoring Hope Village orphanages in South Africa. Relay Iowa began in 2010 as the longest relay run in the United States. Teams cover 339 miles in just 3 days and 2 nights as they run from Sioux City to Dubuque, and along the way are greeted by hoards of energetic volunteers.

The first Relay Iowa began with just four teams and raised $5,000 for the orphanages. Five years later, this year’s event included 29 teams with 300 runners and raised $25,000. This year, Relay Iowa decided to expand their mission to help non-profit organizations in the towns they run through in Iowa. Opening Doors was fortunate to be the Dubuque recipient of $1,000 from this amazing group.

This isn’t where the story ends though. According to relay volunteer, Craig Schaefer, “This year was certainly the most difficult, but also the most inspirational. Relay Iowa co-founder, Jill Raine, had been battling cancer ever since the first year. She was the heart and soul of the event for so many of us.”Sadly, Jill succumbed to cancer just hours after all the teams finished this year’s relay. “She held on until the end of the relay because it meant so much to her. Every runner and volunteer was inspired by her undeniable spirit. And so, despite unimaginable obstacles, this was the biggest year ever. We should all be so lucky to have the same kind of impact on our world. Bill and Jill’s true gift to all of us is to say, “Of course we can!”

This spirit of surviving through the toughest obstacles is something the women Opening Door serves know well. Within each woman who walks through our door there is a light waiting to shine. You, our supporters, help to spark that light.

It is through the spirit of giving that non-profits thrive. Thank you Relay Iowa! To find out more about Relay Iowa please visit

Amy Schauer
Development and Marketing Director

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