October 30th, 2009
05:04 PM ET
Anthony Edwards is committed to building the first public pediatric teaching hospital in Kenya ... indeed, in all of Africa.
How do I know? Not just because he'll be running the New York City Marathon on Sunday, to raise money for the project, but because to promote it, the former "ER" star ventured out on a gloomy, rainy fall day in Manhattan to run around Central Park for our cameras. Many celebrities who loudly proclaim their support for a cause would have taken one look at the weather and told their publicist to reschedule the whole thing.
But Edwards came out and stood in the rain with a smile, as he talked about how he wants to make a difference to thousands of kids. It doesn't take a lot to make a big difference, he said: "All we have to do is shift a little bit to little places."
It makes sense that a man who walked away from a high-paying job on a hugely popular TV show would have his own unique ideas about life. "There is so much excess in this country, said Edwards, who heard that "two thirds of the deaths of children [in Africa] are very preventable" and wanted to get involved. He became the chairman of Shoe4Africa, an organization that started out donating shoes to African children who needed them, and is now trying to build that hospital.
To aid that cause, he's running New York, his fourth marathon, despite his promises to himself not to subject himself to another one. So he's put in months of training runs, and now he's ready to go. He doesn't want to predict his time, but allows that if he feels good, he may cover the 26.2 miles in under four hours.
When I asked him what he'll be doing the day after the race, his first response was simple and succinct - "moaning" - but then he laughed. "Hopefully we'll be celebrating a really successful weekend and looking forward to the next thing."
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