Washington pastor Mark Joneschiet shares why he is passionate about contributing to the Alzheimer’s Association with charitable runs.
By Tristan Fitzpatrick
Pastor Mark Joneschiet is preparing for a 20-mile run on the Longest Day from Enumclaw to Auburn, WA to raise money and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mark operates a 501(c)(3) religious non-profit organization called The Running Pastor, in which he organizes charitable runs for the Alzheimer’s Association.
He and his wife, Joyce, are caretakers for Joyce’s parents, who both have dementia. Mark was also inspired to run by his parents, who also had dementia.
“I just have a heart to help,” Mark said. “I do ministry as I run, which is just reaching out to whoever I am in contact with. But I also wanted be able to represent something that was larger than what I do and I just felt that Alzheimer’s was the organization I wanted to support.”
Mark said his relationship with God was one thing that inspired him as he prepares for each run.
“I know that God is merciful and loving, he cares about people’s situations, he told us to love one another,” Mark said. “What it’s all about is loving and finding creative ways to reach out and love others.”
As Mark runs, he mentions to people he comes across that he is running for the Alzheimer’s Association, and that he is often struck by people’s responses.
“The big thing is trying to make people aware of the cause,” Mark said. “Almost every time I talk to someone, they’ll say, ‘Oh, yeah, I have an uncle with dementia’ or ‘I have a grandparent with Alzheimer’s.’ It’s just really affected a lot of life out there.”