March 3ʳᵈ, 2023: Timmy Zhou, a runner on a mission to make a difference, will soon embark on a transcontinental run across the United States in 87 days to raise $100,000 for Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife (VETPAW).

Zhou will set out on March 8ᵗʰ, 2023 from Venice Beach, California, and aims to run 3,020 miles back to his home in New York City, finishing on June 11ᵗʰ, 2023. His daily average will be 33 miles run per day, with some days reaching close to 40 miles. All the money raised during this campaign will be donated directly to VETPAW’s efforts to protect critically endangered wildlife in Africa and empower veterans. Zhou is also hoping that this cross-country undertaking will help to increase awareness about VETPAW’s mission. He has been known for having a passion for both activism and running, and being able to combine the two for this impressive fundraising campaign is a great achievement for Zhou.

I’ve always wanted to make an impact on the environment since I was little, but never felt like I had the ability or reach to do anything ‘meaningful.’ When I came to New York City, I thought I’d have the chance to participate in protests or work to bring about legislation. I quickly realized that those didn’t click with me and set out to see what skills I could leverage on my own,” said Timmy Zhou about the campaign. “Difficult physical challenges came to mind, and the idea to run across the country was the hardest challenge I could conceive. I’d just finished my first marathon at the time and was looking for something more – a transcontinental run was the perfect solution.”

I’m supporting VETPAW because it’s an incredible conservation model which I hope can be replicated in similar ways across the world. Animals are worth far more alive than dead, as tourism brings in more money than poaching,” Zhou added. Tourism and conservation allow local communities to develop out of poverty which is usually a driving force behind poaching/wildlife destruction in general. I would love to see endangered species such as sharks and threatened rainforests be preserved with ecotourism!”

VETPAW is an organization that brings United States veterans to Africa to fight against poaching and endangered species extinction. These veterans work nonstop to protect African wildlife by rehabilitating rescued animals and spreading awareness about the damages caused by poaching and illegal animal trading. The organization uses the One Health approach, which involves working with local communities in order to educate them on the issues African wildlife is facing and what efforts can be made to protect these beautiful creatures. This approach also helps local communities to develop sustainable practices to further take care of the ecosystem around them. All funds donated to VETPAW go directly to supporting the fight against illegal wildlife trade, poaching, and the extinction of endangered species.

To donate to the GoFundMe campaign, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/running-across-america-for-rhinos.

For more information about how to donate to VETPAW, go to www.vetpaw.org.