Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen and Team Fastrax Partner to Raise Awareness for America’s Wounded Warriors at the Marine Corps Marathon
The Marine Corps Marathon, to be held in Washington, DC, on Sunday, Oct. 25, is more than just another race for Hollis Collins and John Prazynski. While completing a 26.2-mile race is no small feat, the event has taken on much more significance for both of these men.
Collins, a professional skydiver with TeamFastrax in Cincinnati, Ohio, is running the race to not only complete a personal goal, but also to raise awareness for America’s wounded warriors and their families. He will be doing a tandem skydiving jump into the opening ceremony of the Marine Corps Marathon with John Prazynski, whose son Taylor died in May 2005 while on active military duty in Iraq. Prazynski’s family is a Gold Star Family, part of the Gold Star Families for Peace, an organization founded in 2005 by individuals who lost family members in the Iraq War and are thus entitled to display a Gold Star.
Team Fastrax, a professional skydiving team who has performed more than 300,000 jumps all over the world, was founded on the principal of giving back to the community. One of the biggest projects they support is the Warrior Weekend to Remember, a four-day weekend for wounded warriors and Gold Star Families to come together and have fun while helping one another in the healing process. This year’s Warrior Weekend to Remember was held in July and included 20 combat-injured soldiers and their families, and six Gold Star Families. The event is organized by Blue Skies for the Good Guys and Gals Warrior Foundation founded by Team Fastrax.
“Unlike some other Wounded Warrior organizations, all funds that we raise go to the Warrior Weekend to Remember,” said Collins, “It is a completely volunteer-run event. All families attend free of charge and we all help out at the event. It is amazing to see how this weekend helps these families. They get four days just for them, to talk to other families who’ve experienced the same thing and to help each other heal.”
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen is a sponsor of this year’s Marine Corps Marathon and will have a big presence at the weekend’s events. Blue Lizard will have a booth at the Health Expo selling products and a booth set up at the finish line of the race where they will hand out sunscreen samples and also have a UV camera available for participants to see how much sun damage is on their skin. The Blue Lizard mascot will also be running the one-mile Marine Corps Marathon Kids Run.
This sponsorship and their long-established relationship with Team Fastrax has led to several exciting opportunities for Blue Lizard to help raise awareness for America’s wounded warriors. During the month of October, $1 from every purchase of Blue Lizard will go to the Blue Skies for the Good Guys and Gals Warrior Foundation. In addition, during the skydiving jump into the opening ceremony of the marathon, Candace Kaufman, consumer brand strategist for Blue Lizard Sunscreen, will jump along with Collins and Prazynski in an official Blue Lizard skydiving suit with a Blue Lizard parachute and trailing banner.
“We’ll be jumping into the start of the race with American flag parachutes as well as the Gold Star flag and the Blue Lizard chute. We are proud to partner with a company like Blue Lizard who stands up for those who fought for our freedom. They make products that enhance lives but they also give back,” Collins said.
The idea to include one of the Gold Star Families in the opening jump was an easy one for Team Fastrax. “Prazynski’s son, Taylor, is buried just a few feet away from the start of the race at Arlington National Cemetery. He wanted to do the jump to get a chance to see his son’s memorial from above,” Collins added.
After the starting jump, Collins will then join the other 30,000+ runners to complete a 26.2-mile journey through our nation’s capitol. This journey is also a very personal one for Collins. One year ago, Collins was going through one of the hardest periods of his life, having suffered illness and needing surgery all while dealing with the end of a significant relationship. “Right before last year’s Marine Corps Marathon, I made the decision to man up and change my life,” Collins remembers. “I moved to Ohio to join Team Fastrax full-time, lost 60 pounds and took charge of my health. My goal was to run in the next Marine Corps Marathon, and here I am getting ready to do it. For me, the Marine Corps Marathon was a huge turning point in my life.”
For the race, Collins, who spent 14 years in the Air Force himself, will also be wearing a t-shirt featuring five Gold Star Families who all lost a son or daughter in the military. “While running 26.2 miles, there’s a lot of time to think about these five individuals who’ll never have a chance to run again. It’s very meaningful and I am proud to be able to help raise awareness for these families. I cherish the opportunity to do this for Blue Lizard Sunscreen and for these families,” Collins said.