An Iowa man is among five finalists in a nationwide contest for "extreme sports" athletes who are also devoted to charitable work. Rusty Bishop runs a shop in Des Moines that specializes in hot tea. He also travels the world to run endurance races through deserts.
Bishop’s a finalist in the "Inspiring Soles" contest, sponsored by a shoe company and a magazine. The winner will be selected based on the number of online votes and gets a 25-thousand dollar donation to the charity of their choice.
Bishop’s charity is the Iowa Marrow Donor Program at the University of Iowa Hospitals. Almost a decade ago, Bishop registered as a bone marrow donor. Bishop says, "In 2000, I was actually matched with an infant little girl from Oklahoma who had a really rare disease called histiocytosis-X which is so rare, really, there’s no funding for research to find out how to treat it so it’s actually treated like leukemia."
The surgery was performed in January of 2001. It was a success and Bishop recently attended the girl Trinity’s ninth birthday party. Bishop’s hobby is running long-distance races under conditions where most people would be looking for shade and some air conditioning. In March, he ran a course in South America during which he asked friends and family to donate money to pay for the tissue typing of new members to join the Iowa Marrow Donor Program.
When he got home, still nursing blisters on his feet, he co-hosted a donor drive in Des Moines. It’s a staged race of 150-miles over seven days, carrying all of your food and clothing for the week through deserts around the world.
He’s done them in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, considered the driest place on earth, as well as the Gobi Desert in China and the Sahara Desert in Africa.
To learn more about the contest and to cast a vote, log on to " InspiringSoles.com " — that’s soles spelled s-o-l-e-s. The contest ends January 10th.