Bushra Lohrasbi is always on the run—literally. And not even a quarantine can stop her.
It was late-April and Bushra was like most of us: stuck at home. COVID-19 had brought an early end to her final semester at Penn State, and she was back at her parents’ house in Ellicott City, looking for a way to help.
Her daily runs gave her time to think, and she devised a way to turn her favorite activity into frontline care for people without homes. She asked friends and family to sponsor each day she ran in May by donating to Health Care the Homeless.
“I could sense a lot of helpless energy on social media and in calls with my friends and family,” she says. “It was a hard transition. I wanted to give my friends and family an easy way to help.”
Bushra quickly had a sponsor—sometimes more than one— for every day. Over the next 31 days, she ran 135 miles and got 50 donations, raising over $700.
Bushra was surprised by the response, but she also sees it as an indication of how young people like her are eager to push for social change. You can see that across the country with youthful energy fueling protests against police brutality and systemic racism. “As young people, we have so many tools at our disposal,” she says. “Our education, social awareness, ginormous social media connections—that can drive us to fight for changes in our communities.”
Bushra’s passion is studying the ways trauma—childhood abuse, homelessness, racism—impacts our brain’s way of processing communication and producing speech. She dreams of becoming a speech pathologist and helping those who are too often overlooked to find their voice.
COVID-19 didn’t stop Bushra from running. And it’s not stopping her education either.
She’s starting a master’s program at the University of Maryland this fall. “I’ll get a graduation ceremony eventually,” she says.
In the meantime, she’s going to run.
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