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Freed to Run marathon series benefits the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership

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Freed to Run participants

FREED TO RUN TEAMS gathered in front of the Baker County Courthouse last year for the last of six consecutive marathons through which Jacksonville attorney Mike Freed of Gunster and teams of runners raised funds for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA) and the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership (NFMLP). The funds raised through Freed to Run go toward an endowment for the NFMLP that will enable JALA to continue to provide legal aid to pediatric patients and their families.

Capitol-to-coast six-marathon series, Freed to Run, now in its third year, has attracted 22 relay teams formed by a diverse group of Jacksonville area business and community leaders, dozens of whom will hit the pavement between Tallahassee and Jacksonville December 15-20 to help the region’s pediatric patients access civil legal help.

JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis is running as a member of the JAX Chamber relay team, captained by Chief Operating Officer Kelly Pourciau.

“The success of this marathon series has been incredible, and I want to thank Mike Freed for his leadership raising money and awareness for the legal challenges faced by low-income families with sick children,” Davis said. “The JAX Chamber is proud to support the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership, and I look forward to getting out and running with our chamber team.”

Freed to Run 3.0, like the previous two years’ events, will benefit an endowment for the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership (NFMLP), through which Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and pro bono attorneys tackle legal issues from access to health coverage to educational accommodations to safe housing matters for about 200 pediatric patients and their families each year. The cases are referred by the providers of Wolfson Children’s Hospital, Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, UF Health Specialty Pediatric Clinics, and Community PedsCare, a pediatric program of Community Hospice & Palliative Care, as well as Sulzbacher Village Pediatrics.

Freed to Run was begun by Gunster shareholder Mike Freed, who ran all six marathons alone in 2017 and continues to run them alongside the relay teams, each of which jointly tackles a single marathon. Now JALA’s largest annual fundraiser, the event is nearly half-way to its fundraising goal of $180,000 for this year.

JALA has pledged to raise $1 million toward the endowment over five years, with the funds being matched at 125% by Baptist Health, for a total of $2.25 million that will fund the program in perpetuity. Freed to Run 3.0 is co-chaired by Darnell Smith, Florida Blue market president – North Florida Region; Ryan Ludwick of Fisher, Tousey, Leas & Ball; and Eric Krall, mortgage sales manager with Community First Credit Union.

The 22 teams, each of which has set an individual fundraising goal, include the following businesses, law firms, higher education institutions, government offices, community and philanthropic organizations, and individuals: Gunster; Florida Blue; Community First Credit Union; Fisher, Tousey, Leas & Ball; JAX Chamber; Jacksonville Bar Association (Solo & Small Firms); Abel Bean Law, P.A.; Harrell & Harrell; Akerman LLP; The Truck Accident Law Firm; The Pajcic Smith Group | Merrill Lynch; Forbes & Gilham; Smoak Davis & Nixon LLP; the Fourth Circuit State Attorney’s Office; The Office of Public Defender Charlie Cofer; Women’s Giving Alliance; UNF School of Music; Jacksonville University; Team Bowzer; Pavement Killers; JALA Staff; and JALA Board of Directors.

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