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Let's help homeless pets---ALL OF THEM!

Rhiannon LaVine

Rhiannon LaVine

Welcome friends and fellow animal lovers!

Thank you for supporting me as I race to save homeless pets this year! As many of you know, I am a passionate advocate for animal welfare and routinely jump at the chance to support causes that give animals a shot at happy, healthy lives. We've opened our home to several foster kitties, put in hours helping shelter animals, and began to help develop programs to enrich shelter cats. Additionally, I'm serving as a Team PAWS shepherd this year: leading a pack of other wonderful athletes who are also putting their miles toward helping homeless animals.

Having achieved my PR half marathon in 2018, I'm gearing up to do it again---I will be running in the Chicago Half Marathon as a member of Team PAWS. With your help, I can do that and help some more needy animals by raising at least $650 by the end of September 2019. Sounds like a deal, huh?

I ran my first 5K, the Madison Mini, in August of 2016 on a whim and I fell in love with the challenge. Since then, I've gone from an ~11 min/mile to an 8 min/mile 5K pace. I aim to break a 7 min/mile 5K pace. I came full circle and ran my first half marathon, which was also the Madison Mini, in August of 2017. Despite injuring my knee (ACL and LCL sprain) at mile 8, I hobbled my way over the finish line and made a 2 and a half hour time (not great, but not terrible given the hobbling!). I recovered, trained, strengthened, and in 2018 I bounced back and did a 2:16:00 half marathon at the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago. For 2019, I want to beat that.

Because of my 2017 injury and several before, it was discovered that I suffer from a rare connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (Type 1, Classic) and a coincident condition called POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). The former means that I have a genetic mutation that messes with my ability to create a certain type of collagen, which is the building block for the body's connective tissues (including skin, tendons, ligaments, etc.). This results in early-onset osteoarthritis and very flexible and weak joints---essentially I have an excuse for being so injury-prone! POTS results in the inability of circulatory system to fight gravity and effectively pump blood back up through my body when I stand up, so I'm prone to lightheadedness, fainting, and have a difficult time with high levels of activity. While it's not advised that those with these conditions continue to run as an activity, it can be done with proper hydration and electrolyte intake, physical therapy, and strengthening of the muscles to make up for and support my weak joints. In short, I can't beat this condition, but I will not let it beat me...


PAWS Chicago is dedicated to building No Kill communities – starting with a No Kill Chicago – where all healthy and treatable pets are saved (over 98%!!). Since PAWS Chicago’s founding in 1997, the number of homeless animals euthanized per year in Chicago has dropped more than 80 percent. In 2017, PAWS Chicago found loving homes for more than 5,300 homeless pets; and that's only the beginning. Check out the rest of the 2017 stats:

Despite these amazing results so far, there is more work to be done and your generosity is crucial to this effort.

Please consider supporting me by making a donation and helping PAWS Chicago provide vital medical care, food and shelter to thousands of homeless pets this year. PAWS receives no government funding and relies solely on people like you to help provide continued care for Chicago's homeless animals.

Your support will allow us to build a truly humane and compassionate community, one pet at a time. If you are feeling extra generous, please consider sharing my page with your network or check with your employer if they will match your donation to make the most out of your generosity.

Thank you for making it to the bottom of the page, and for helping us get a little closer to accomplishing our mission.



raised of $650 goal

Recent Donations

1. Amanda Ellis
Congratulations!! Thank you for playing the GOT game with us. Go Team PAWS :-)
2. Kailey Meyer
3. Diana Zimmer
Team Paws where petting is priceless. May the weather gods cooperate and your run be fabulous. Bob says hi.
4. William Slankard
Meryl & Lisa
5. Sara Stevens
6. Anonymous