PHOENIX — Lee Perreira is preparing his body and mind Monday for something he’s never done before.
“I just hope everything goes well, yesterday I didn’t have any problems, always just hope that continues,” said Perreira as he stretched at the start of the Pima East Loop trailhead at South Mountain.
He’s taking on the final leg of a 16-day journey across the state on foot. Running more than 2 million feet, in fact, drawing inspiration with every breath.
“Donations can be measured but inspiration can’t and it really changed my life,” said Perreira.
Since 2019, Perreira has raised more than $30,000 by annually running the equivalent of 16 marathons over 16 consecutive days.
“Purpose gives strength and I don’t know if I could do this if it was just for me,” said Perreira.
Instead, he’s doing it for his mother who suffered from domestic violence, his cousin who passed from childhood cancer, and his grandfather, a Korean War Veteran who battled dementia. All the money raised by his run going to local charities championing those causes.
“All these foundations you could say have to struggle through darkness, we’re talking about children with cancer and how that affects their parents who take care of them, we’re talking about victims of abuse,” said Perreira.
With every grueling mile, he struggles with them and for them. His routes tracked on his website and to his surprise, supporters not only opened their wallets but showed up to cheer him on.
“People would show up on the side of the road with signs, or they’d drive by and honk,” said Perreira.
On this day, he’s pushing himself even further with an attempt to run 100 miles in 24 hours eventually finishing by Tuesday morning. He hopes others will follow in his footsteps by challenging themselves to put love and compassion into action.
“If you’ve done it you’ve felt it, the giver and the receiver both receive,” said Perreira.