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Bend man tows car 26 miles on foot for worthy cause


A Bend man showed this weekend that compassion transcends physical boundaries by setting a goal that requires muscular endurance, determination, and the desire to help others.

Most people spend a typical summer weekend floating down the river, relaxing at the park, or staying indoors to watch a movie.

But Justin True, 27, isn’t like most people.

In June, he biked 170 miles down the coast in order to raise money for a Palestinian man to attend college in Canada. Some of the funds also went to children in Gaza who needed health care.

In July, True completed an Olympic triathlon at the Deschutes Dash, carrying a total of 92 pounds , for the same two causes.

True did not stop his goal there. Starting late Friday night and into Saturday afternoon, he towed a 3,000-pound car on foot down Dobbin Road east of Bend.

He went into this feat, which he dubbed ” The Strongest Marathon, ” with the mindset that there are people in other parts of the world who face challenges every single day, like his friend, Kamal.

True met Kamal, a Palestinian, during a trip to Egypt. They bonded over three weeks, during which Justin learned Kamal received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend college in Florida to pursue a master’s degree.

However, Kamal could not get a visa to attend school in the U.S.

“His story isn’t meant to end like that,” True said. “He’s a good person, and his story isn’t meant to end like that.”

True also learned Kamal did not want to go back to his home in the Gaza Strip because of the military conflicts happening there.

Then, a girl from England who was staying in the same hostel as True and Kamal was able to arrange an opportunity for Kamal to attend school in Canada.

However, Kamal needed to complete a French language requirement. He had all the money he needed for his master’s program, but did not have enough for the language courses.

True said believes it was fate that brought him and Kamal together.

“My parents would always ask, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?'” True said. “Mine was, I just want to change one person’s life for the better.”

By towing a car up and down a hilly road, with a group of close friends following alongside him as motivation, True said he hoped to raise awareness about helping people like Kamal. He finished the 26.2-mile trek in 17 hours.

” It’s not about race or religion or sex or anything, ” he said. ” It’s just about, we’re all people in this world. We just need to join together and help people, ” he said. ” When I met Kamal, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. That this was my 8-year-old self’s dream. ”

True said his efforts are more about raising awareness about the cause than fund-raising, and urged people to donate to any charity that helps people in Gaza.

You can learn more at True’s Facebook page.

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