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Lakeland family is kiteboarding for a cause

11:09 PM, Mar 29, 2013   |    comments
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LAKELAND, Fla. (WTSP) -- The Russell family of Lakeland - Mark and his 3 sons aged 12 to 17 -- will be kite boarding from Miami to the Florida Keys within the next month.  

Their extreme journey is called "50 miles for $50,000." The money they're collecting will benefit Orphan's Heart and go toward building an orphanage in Tanzania, Africa.  "I'm going to raise money for kids in Africa so that's pretty awesome," added 12 year old Trey Russell. 

 The Russell's and about a dozen others will "soar" soon.  Mark adds, "We've got a number of professional riders, 9 professional riders that have come along side us and are helping to raise money." 

Despite the name (50 miles for $50,000), the trip actually covers about 68 miles of shoreline and in the surf it's more like 100-150 miles!  "This is truly like the marathon of kite boarding," said Mark.

The family came up with the idea because they wanted to make a difference.  Mark said, "5 years ago we went on a mission trip to visit a malnutrition center and help out with the kids there and really that was the first time we'd reached out overseas. It just spoke to our hearts. What we want to do is initially house these kids, but provide them with everything from housing to food to education and really give them life skills so they can be successful." 

Tracey Russell watches and supports her husband and sons from the sidelines, "I thought it was absolutely crazy at first, but it's been amazing, amazing to see my husband have a dream and it actually take flight and it's an amazing cause. With the first home, the whole entire project will launch so that would be great for 12 children to literally be rescued.  Really impact the world and really do something that makes a difference. By seeing how this much can really make a tangible difference in the lives of children in 3rd world countries." 

If you'd like more information on the trip, or to learn how to donate or participate, go to or

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