Monroe County woman preparing for a 26-mile race in Haiti

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STROUD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A nurse practitioner from the Poconos is running toward a major goal, one mile at a time.

As a nurse practitioner, Herline Raphael is used to being on her feet, but not like this.

“It’s much more difficult than I anticipated,” Raphael, the founder and president of Helping Hands and Beyond, said.

Five days a week, she trains with her son Isaiah at a Stroud Township park.

“I have never done anything of such magnitude in terms of physical activities,” Raphael said.

Raphael is preparing to run 26 miles in Haiti this October. The race is a fundraiser for her Stroudsburg-based non-profit Helping Hands and Beyond to open this orphanage for young Haitian girls.

“Being able to acquire 12 girls to bring back life into them, to bring hope, to give them a future, because we will follow these girls through the continuum of their lifespan,” Raphael said.

Every year, Raphael uses her vacation days to travel to Haiti with other local medical professionals. They visit different impoverished villages, providing primary care from mobile clinics.

“In the areas we work in, there’s almost zero access to care, and so we’re almost it,” Raphael said.

She hopes to not only raise awareness and money for the orphanage, but to also inspire you.

“If I can do it, hey, anyone else can do it,” Raphael said.

Although training is hard, Raphael doesn’t mind. She knows this is nothing compared to walking a mile in an orphan’s shoes.

It will cost about $130,000 to open the orphanage, which was once a house.

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