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Rockville Centre teen running Philadelphia Marathon for Sandy victims
Andrew Nyhus volunteered with the American Red Cross, spending last Saturday in Freeport unloading trucks, sorting clothes and handing out food to victims of superstorm Sandy.
“It was a good experience because I got to see people who really needed our help,” said Nyhus, 17, of Rockville Centre. “I told one man, ‘It’s going to get better.’ You could tell these people were not living their normal lives. It’s crazy to think everything’s not back to normal.”
Nyhus was motivated by the experience to do more. And since he had already signed up last summer to run in Sunday’s Philadelphia Marathon, he decided turn to his effort into an American Red Cross Sandy fundraiser.
Nyhus, who ran his first marathon at the Long Island Marathon on May 6 at Eisenhower Park, trains by running 3 to 6 miles a day after school. His mother, Maura Nyhus, said that her son’s passion for volunteering began in sixth grade at South Side Middle School in Rockville Centre. At age 12, he began a letter-writing campaign, enlisting students to write to the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, she said.
Two years earlier, in 2005, he set up a lemonade stand in the front of their house to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Now, he’s seeing the same kind of hurt and destruction firsthand.
“We lost power for six days,” Andrew Nyhus said. “When I toured Lido Beach, Long Beach and Oceanside, I saw boats in people’s front yards and powerlines and trees down.”
Maura Nyhus isn’t surprised by her son’s continued philanthropy.
“I’m so proud of him. At an early age, he was so moved by the tragedy that he started a campaign,” said Nyhus, 51, of Rockville Centre. “His heart is in the right place and he always tries to do the right thing.”