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Hilary Swank has launched an around-the-world relay race to raise money to help the over-one-billion people without safe drinking water. Last month, 20 athletes set out to run over 15,000 miles, 10 miles at a time, across 16 countries, 24 hours a day for 95 days. Organized by the Blue Planet Run Foundation, the relay runners should arrive back in New York on September 4 after having run 750 miles each.

Campaigning for the cause, Swank had this to say: “What if it were your job to carry in a rusty metal pail all the water you and your family would use for the day? What if the water made you sick? What if you had no choice? Making safe drinking water available is everyone’s problem, and it’s a problem that will take everyone to solve.”

Blue Planet’s goal is to provide safe drinking water to 200 million people for the rest of their lives by 2027. In the past three years, through Blue Planet funding of 11 NGO’s, 135 sustainable water projects in 13 countries have been implemented. According to Blue Planet’s creator Jin Zidell, $30 can create a lifetime of safe drinking water for one person. The Blue Planet Run will take place every two years.

Swank is also promoting the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Campaign, which donates real-hair wigs to women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. She is growing her own hair so that when it is cut later this year, she can give it to the organization.

She says, “I have lost multiple family members to cancer and witnessed their struggle first hand. I hope that my contribution will help to inspire others to get involved in whatever way they can.”

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