Driver Sheila Grothe died in April after being forced from her job by cancer and a battle that brought astronomical health care bills.
Grothe’s struggle with medical expenses touched Jasmine Jordan, the 16-year-old daughter of OOIDA member Lee Jordan, Sheila’s boss.
Jasmine, who also goes by “Jazzy,” decided to run from Los Angeles to New York, beginning her trek on Sept. 1 and finishing sometime next year. She’s running to raise awareness for truckers and others without medical coverage, and to raise money for the St. Christopher Fund charity, which provides medical care for truckers who wouldn’t otherwise receive treatment.
“On that day I made a decision that I will do something to change the system, so people who don’t have medical coverage to pay for treatments like Sheila needed will have options,” Jazzy wrote on her Web site.
This past weekend, Jazzy stopped and spoke to truck drivers participating in the Phoenix World’s Largest Truck Convoy.
Lee Jordan said Jazzy was invited to come onstage Saturday at the Arizona Law Enforcement Torch Run and discuss her fundraising effort.
“She was able to tell them her story and mention the St. Christopher Fund,” Lee said. “They really encouraged her. It was a great thing.”
For more information, and to track Jazzy’s progress, visit her Web site at www.runwithjazzy.com. She also has a fan group at on facebook.
Jazzy, a runner who previously had set her sights on training for distance running in the 2012 Olympics, told Land Line Now she worked all summer to prepare, enduring 16-mile runs in Arizona’s August heat.
On Sept. 1, Jazzy began her 100-mile per week trek, hoping to raise money to support her training and the St. Christopher Fund.
Lee joked that he’s kept a bottle of water “pretty much taped to her hands” to keep Jazzy hydrated. The junior in high school – who will keep up with schoolwork on the road – has had to adjust to summer running south of her Minnesota hometown.
“I’m proud of her stick-to-it-ism,” Lee said.
Jazzy and Lee know she’ll face a combination of heat, cold, miles of hard pavement and even sheer boredom on her cross-country journey.
Will she make it?
“I’m not going to give up,” she said. “I’ll just keep going.”
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer