Concord runner wants your 2 cents

Bill Dusch has found a way to combine two of his biggest passions: running and community service.

His fundraising campaign, “Give your 2 cents to United Way,” will benefit the Cabarrus County chapter of the United Way of Central Carolinas. A partner with Technologies Edge in Concord, Dusch also is the 2014 United Way campaign chair for Cabarrus County.

“I’ve supported United Way in various capacities for over 30 years,” said the 61-year-old Concord native. “My first marathon was the Charlotte Observer Marathon in 1998 and the latest was the Hartford Marathon two weeks ago.”

So far, pledges have ranged from 2 cents to $1 per fellow marathoner passed. Dusch will donate $1 for each marathoner he passes.

“To give you a idea of what to expect, last year, 3,059 finished the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon,” he said. “So if I am able to finish in the top half, donations would be about $30. The goal is to run a great race, cross the finish line healthy and pass at least 1,000 runners. If all these things come together, then we hope to raise at least $7,500.”

Dusch and his wife, Debbie, have participated in marathons in 32 states and four continents, including marathons on the Great Wall of China, through a vineyard in France, and even on Antarctica. And they have planned to run a marathon next year in Africa.

“I think many of my friends were surprised to find out how much I really run,” he said. “I started running back in 1983 when I was out of shape and 40 pounds overweight. In a course of a year, I lost those 40 pounds and fell in love with running.”

He does it not only for the physical benefits but for the camaraderie.

“As campaign chair, I was looking for a unique way to engage the community,” Dusch said. “Supporting (me) is an easy way for anyone to get involved and support our community.”

The effort allows people to be a part of something bigger than themselves, Dusch said, and he likes knowing people throughout Cabarrus County will be pulling for him. So far, he’s attracted roughly 100 supporters.

Sarah Porter, Cabarrus community director for the United Way of Central Carolinas, said an effort like this is unique.

“The fact that he is doing all the work and allowing everyone else to just sit back and wait for him to finish is genius,” Porter said. “Bill is a creative guy with a big, generous heart. He is passionate about United Way and our partner agencies and he understands that you have to take care of your own community, our neighbors in need.”

The Cabarrus United Way chapter set a goal to raise $600,000. The goal of the Cabarrus County United Way Campaign is to raise awareness and obtain donations for 24 agencies that offer 31 programs throughout the county. Last year, more than $1.2 million was distributed.

“We’re well on our way to reaching that goal, however, we still need the support of the entire community, ” Porter said. “Bill’s Give Your 2 cents to United Way challenge is just one of the many ways the community can support United Way.”