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12 Who Care: Mike Freed uses his feet to save lives

Mike Freed will be the first to tell you, he doesn't run at the fastest pace. But his strides are making big impacts in the First Coast community.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One-hundred-fifty-seven-point-two miles. Roughly the distance from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. By car, it'll take about two-and-a-half hours. By foot? Six days. At least that's how long it takes Mike Freed to run that distance. In six days, he runs six marathons.

In fact, two years ago Freed had never run a marathon, and what was a crazy idea then is now Freed to Run -- an organization that supports those seeking legal aid but can't afford it.

"Everybody has the ability to figure out what they're passionate about and to find a way to unite others around that cause," Freed said.

And by simply running, he's doing just that.

Credit: wtlv
Mike Freed alongside friends and family at the finish line of his 6 day marathon stretch in 2018.

As a business litigator on the First Coast, Freed sees the legal system working but in some ways, not working as well as it could.

"[Families] that generally have a number of legal problems that are keeping them from moving forward with their lives," Freed added. "[Things] keeping them from being productive and from supporting their families."

From the steps of the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee to the courthouse in downtown Jacksonville, Freed runs to raise money and awareness for Freed to Run. The organization, which he started, partners with the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Baptist Health to fund a team of lawyers that helps families navigate medical challenges.

For those who can't simply higher a lawyer, Mike is simply running six marathons in six days.

"To whom much is given, much is expected," Freed said. "Find something that makes your heart cry and do something to move the needle about it."

Going on year three, Freed to Run has raised over $400,000 with a final goal of $2.25 million by 2023. The interest on this money alone will fund the endowment forever. Freed and many others, surrounded by family and friends, will run Dec. 15 through Dec. 20.