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The Blue & Gray Press | February 18, 2018

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Invisible Children Hosts First Triathalon at UMW

By STEPHANIE LIPSCOMB

The first University of Mary Washington triathlon for Invisible Children (IC) held last Saturday, Oct. 9, raised $1,500 to benefit their Frontline campaign.

The Frontline campaign aims to “directly protect local communities and make rehabilitation accessible to children formerly abducted by the LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army],” according to the Invisible Children website.

The triathlon, which was held at 7:30 a.m., consisted of a 300-meter swim, a 3.7-mile bike ride and a 1.2-mile run throughout campus.

The majority of the 37 triathletes were Fredericksburg community members, according to sophomore Abbey Doherty, treasurer of the UMW Invisible Children Club.

The winner of the triathlon was Fredericksburg local triathlete Kory Jessin, a UMW almnus, according to Doherty.

Sophomore Stephanie Preston, public relations officer for the Invisible Children Club, said the triathlon was “a good start.”

Doherty said the club hopes to make this an annual event.

Senior Travis Bishop came up with the idea of creating the triathlon and organized the event, according to Doherty.

According to Preston, the participants were “excited to come back for the next Invisible Children triathlon.”

Invisible Children was founded as a response to the LRA.

“After a war broke out in Northern Uganda and the Congo, tribal warfare started and the chaos never died,” Doherty said. “Joseph Kony, fundamentalist religionist, captures children and turns them into child soldiers to feed the war machine. The children are raped, beaten and killed so the ones that survive are desensitized and it affects them forever. It’s been going on for ten years.”

According to its website, Invisible Children aims to create an Early Warning Radio Network to alert security in the communities to LRA activity within the Congo and Uganda. Invisible Children also sends out fliers and FM broadcasts directly to LRA members informing them of how to safely return home.

IC also supports and helps raise awareness to the arrest of Joseph Kony and other top LRA membership, according to its website,.

“There are a few documentaries about Joseph Kony and the LRA and they really try to spread support for Invisible Children by showing what’s happening in Uganda and the Congo.  I was a junior in high school when I first saw the original documentary and it immediately moved me to get involved,” said Doherty.

Taylor Rotsted, a sophomore business major, said, “I got involved because the documentaries show how many horrible experiences these children have gone had and they’re still amazing people. I admire them so much.”

“We’re hoping to raise awareness not only in the UMW community but within Fredericksburg too,” said Doherty.