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Titus and DJ at the start of the race on May 22, 2010.
Titus and DJ at the start of the race on May 22, 2010.

A Different Kind of Fund Raiser

In June 2010, it was a dream come true for me, when Titus and I ran 16 miles down the Menomonee River to raise money for my favority charity, The Milwaukee Outreach Center.  They could always use more funds, volunteers, and awareness of their cause: to help the underskilled and unemployed in Milwaukee.

The original idea was to take everything I love (my dog, trail running, the Menomonee River, my faith in Jesus, and my favorite charity) -- and roll it into one big day!  Through a home-made video and a website, the word got out and we raised about $5,000.  We even had a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Article (click to read) written about the unusual event.

My "team", which consisted of my family and friends of TMOC, handed out promotional flyers, sent e-mails, and tried to raise interest.  It worked!

The event was called, "Titus & DJ's Menomonee River Charity Trail Run for Jobs & Jesus".  We printed some T-shirts, had a great time, and there were about 15 people at the finish line on a pleasant May afternoon.  You can click here to see a great slideshow of what happened that day in 2010.

After Titus died in April 2011 amidst a flurry of media attention, I wasn't sure what to do.  Since I didn't have a dog of my own, I decided to expand the event into a relay that included 10 participants (with dogs) and more charities.

So, in 2010, we had one charity and 15 people at the finish line.  Then in 2011, we had 8 charities and 100 people at the finish line!  Each year features a similar turnout.

I am grateful to be a part of this.  When I lost Titus, I received kindness and generosity from hundreds (maybe thousands) of people who cared about a guy and his lost dog.  With that same feeling of community and cooperation, I want to give back to this great city that gave so much to me.

I hope to see you at this year's picnic!

God bless,

D. J. Rodrian

A photo of the 2011 participants at the Finish Line in Hoyt Park.
A photo of the 2011 participants at the Finish Line in Hoyt Park.
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