PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and on Saturday hundreds came out for a 5K run and 1-mile walk in downtown Pikeville to support an organization that serves child abuse victims in our region.
The event called, 'Run with Courage,' is a race that means much more than winning a trophy, especially for runner Kenneth Henry. Henry says, "If this fundraiser helps one child, it is worth it. My grand-baby came from a situation like this so, I'm familiar with it."
Saturday's event benefits, Judi's Place, which serves child abuse victims in Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, and Martin counties. Judi's Place board member, Mike Taylor says, "It helps the whole region, and when we started this 11 years ago with the help of Judi Patton...she was a blessing to this community."
Before Judi's Place was founded 11 years ago, there was nowhere in the area for child abuse victims to go. Founders say there was a desperate need for an organization to help those suffering from child abuse.
Judi Patton says, "At first it took awhile to get the word out and awareness that child abuse is happening every day, everywhere across the board, and in all different types of homes."
Mrs. Patton says folks tend to look the other way because they don't feel it is their problem, but she says child abuse is society's problem, "80% of convicts were abused as a child, and they say about 82% of prostitutes were sexually abused as a child...so it goes all through society."
Patton says thanks to organizations like Judi's Place and stronger laws put into effect, these children are getting help, "People are opening their eyes and know, yes, we will not tolerate any more. Every child should have a happy life and a life they know they can reach their full potential."
Patton believes, the more people that raise awareness and take a stand against child abuse, the less abuse our society will see. She says, "The more people that come out for it and say this is not right, the less we're going to have abuse. These abusers are going to say alright, I can't get away with it anymore."
Law enforcement agencies were also at the event showing their support. Officials with Kentucky State Police Post 9 in Pikeville, say Judi's Place is a huge asset to them and the communities they serve.