Jessica Goldman took off into a run down East Market Street in Logansport early Monday morning pushing her three-wheeled cart full of supplies toward U.S. 24. She hoped to reach Huntington before storms in the forecast and that her water rations would last her the nearly 50-mile trip.
The 41-year-old New Hampshire native is nine weeks into running from San Francisco, Calif., where she received a mayoral sendoff in April, to New York, N.Y. to raise funds for the Brain Injury Association of America. She has overcome a number of obstacles so far on her trek, fueled by a wide range of support along with her personal and friends' experiences with the ailment she strives to raise funds and awareness for.
Part of the drive behind Goldman's advocacy began working in special education at an elementary school with a second grader who continues to cope with a brain injury after being struck by a bus. Goldman recently reconnected with her former student, now in her 20s, along with the woman's mother. She calls the challenges the woman and her single mother have had to overcome "eye opening."
"People like this need advocacy and support and organizations to help them," Goldman said. "They have a lot of difficulties they have to go through."
Furthermore, one of Goldman's friends who was helping her gather sponsors as she prepared for her trip was diagnosed with Hashimoto's encephalitis, a disorder of the neuroendocrine cells in the brain. Suddenly he became one of the people she would run to raise funds for, she said, adding that they continue to rely on support from one another.
A few years ago while serving with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, Goldman was riding in a taxi that struck a man in what she described as a "traumatizing, graphic experience." Knowing the likelihood the man suffered a brain injury in a country with few resources to assist in such a situation, the incident reminded her of the resources in her own country and made her want to work to boost those resources in some way.