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by Karen Phillips

APRIL HARTSOOK: THE FITNESS PHILANTHROPIST

April Hartsook wears many hats: accomplished ultraendurance athlete, Ironman triathlete, motivational speaker, model, mother of three and owner and trainer of April Hartsook LLC. Her very first mentor, Jon Blais, was the only man diagnosed with ALS Lou Gehrig’s Disease and to complete the Ironman — a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run — in Kona, Hawaii in October 2005. Jon passed away in May 2007. April became a member of the ALS Blazeman Warriors in an effort to help fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She races Ironman triathlons, holds Cycle for ALS events and runs and bikes distance races in an effort to raise awareness and gain funding for ALS. Jason Lester is a very good friend of April’s. “We call ourselves ‘soul brother and sister,’” she said. Jason recently ran and biked 4,800 miles across the US for NIKE’s Better World campaign. April met up to run with Jason on both coasts during his journey, in South Carolina and California. Dave Carlsson, a good friend of Jason’s, has teamed up with him on many journeys. Jason and Dave just finished running a marathon a day from Dec. 1 through Dec. 26 to raise money to feed the hungry. April lives in Winston-Salem and has helped raise more than $1,700 to help feed the hungry in her own community. “Want different… do different,” is her motto. Life is challenging, and if you want things to change, “get up off your ass and fix your life yourself.” April said 2013 is the year of change. Visit her website at aprilhartsook.com or facebook.com/AprilHartsookLLC.

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