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Aubrey McLaughlin Ready to Run for a Cause | Community Spirit

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Aubrey McLaughlin Ready to Run for a Cause
Aubrey McLaughlin Ready to Run for a Cause


Just about every week you can find a 5K race somewhere in Western New York to raise funds for local organizations. Real running enthusiasts might even try something more challenging, like a 26-mile marathon, to raise funds and attention for a worthy cause. 

But on May 9, East Aurora native Aubrey McLaughlin will run the Gnaw Bone 50-mile race in Gnaw Bone, Indiana, all to raise funds and awareness for the Rural Outreach Center (ROC), a nonprofit organization based in South Wales.

The ROC offers immediate assistance for community members in urgent need while also providing programs, with community partners, to empower individuals to change behaviors and achieve a more stable life situation through financial coaching, job preparation, literacy training and more.

A college student majoring in English, McLaughlin stumbled upon the ROC by accident, he admits. 

“I learned about the ROC in a funny way,” he said. “I was going to visit a friend at her business to talk about what kind of organization she would recommend for me to support this year, and when I visited her she wasn't in. There was a ROC brochure on the counter, and from there I knew I had found the perfect cause. The ROC is representing a population that otherwise doesn't get very much attention. The more I learned about how Pastor Frank Cerny runs the operation, the more thrilled I was that someone wasn't just working on rural issues, but doing it right!” 

While he has been training very hard for the upcoming race, McLaughlin admits that he has never attempted a 50-mile run, but insists he’s up for the challenge.

“My goal has always been to just have fun when I've done these pledge drives in the past,” he said. “I love meeting new people and seeing their generous side. In fear of losing that fun, I try not to set a fundraising goal, because I fear the goal will quickly get out of hand, making the work stressful and hard to focus on. That said, I always have a number in the back of my head, and this year it is $10,000. 

“I love trail running and getting to go on a weekend trip with my family,” McLaughlin added, “so I see it as more of a vacation than any kind of stress. I wouldn't be doing any of this if it didn't sound like a good time. My dream is to find a way to make this a career, where a network of people connected by these pledges can work together. I'm always trying to come up with new ideas to encompass all I want it to accomplish, which might be too much, but who knows? For now I'm just happy running.”

If you are interested in supporting McLaughlin’s run for the ROC, please email him at whowillrun@gmail.com. And for more information regarding the Rural Outreach Center, located at 6387 Olean Road, please visit www.theroc.co, call 240-2220 or email frank@pathwaysfellowship.org. You can also follow the ROC on Facebook for frequent updates.


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