Sisson ’09 skates to fight hunger

Rollerblade presents Jack Sisson '09 with $5000 for Action Against Hunger after Sisson skated across the country to raise awareness for the cause.

Rollerblade, the West Lebanon-based company that is now synonymous with inline skating, presented Jack Sisson ’09 with a $5,000 check for the non-profit organization Action Against Hunger on Tuesday. This past summer, Sisson skated 3,000 miles across the country — from Yorktown, Va., to San Diego, Calif. — to raise money for the organization. Rollerblade recognized Sisson for his humanitarian efforts and his contribution to the “spirit of rollerblading,” according to Barbara McKinnon, events and grants officer for Action Against Hunger.

“We’ve worked with athletes before, and we have a lot of community groups raise money and awareness through video screenings, but Jack spurred a wave of individuals looking for a way to utilize their athletic abilities to get involved,” McKinnon.

Action Against Hunger is an international relief organization that aims to provide hunger aid, specifically focusing on regions affected by conflict and natural disasters.

Sisson said he chose to raise money for the organization because “hunger is the most basic problem you can address.”

“Without adequate food and water, everything else is secondary,” he said.

Sisson completed the trip in 71 days, averaging about 43 miles a day, an experience he said was “definitely life-changing but hard to verbalize.”

.While planning his trip, Sisson learned about Action Against Hunger online and informed the organization about his plans to skate across the country for a charitable cause. The organization reached out to Rollerblade when Sisson began to garner local media attention during his trip.

“Pretty much every town he went to, he was in the paper or in the news, and we were looking for a way to harness that feedback,” McKinnon said.

Rollerblade had already been following Sisson’s cross-country progress after reading about his trip in an online article published by a major skating magazine. According to McKinnon, Rollerblade then agreed to match Sisson’s initial goal of raising $5,000 in donations.

Many of the contributions came from people in Sisson’s hometown and members of the Dartmouth community. Rollerblade’s check brought the total amount of money raised for Action Against Hunger to $11,670.

“It takes as little as $50 and 30 days to bring a child on the brink of starvation to the road to recovery,” McKinnon said. “His impact is going to be extreme since it takes such a little amount to make a big difference.”

McKinnon added that campaigns like Sisson’s are great for Action Against Hunger because they raise awareness about the organization, in addition to donations.

At Tuesday’s meeting with the Rollerblade representatives, Sisson showed pictures from the trip over lunch and explained the general route he took. Afterwards, Rollerblade presented him with the check and a pair of Rollerblade skates.

“I found that the people at Rollerblade were genuinely interested in what I had done,” Sisson said.

He added that he had always wanted to take a trip of this nature, and that he has not ruled out a similar trip in the future, though he does not have any specific plans at this point.

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