"I've had my share of close calls with child abduction and child sex abuse, through people I've known and loved and I'm tired of it," said Kecia Richardson who founded K.I.D.S. (Keeping Innocence Defending Safety) Foundation two years ago, www.defendinginnocence.org.
"I've known children who were sexually abused.
I learned that my teenage daughter was babysitting for a neighbor who turned out to be a registered sex offender," Richardson
, meanwhile, is working to call attention to Lunsford's quest for justice by organizing running events in states that pass Jessica's Law.
But for now, she's
focused on the 2nd Annual Jessica Marie Lunsford Run as a memorial to the girl and others like her
Even if they don't know why it's happening or what it's about, people notice these things and ask, 'Gee, what's going on?'" Richardson
"It's beyond an epidemic, but it's stunning how few people realize how widespread and dangerous this problem is," Richardson
"That's why raising people's consciousness through the 2nd Annual Jessica Lunsford Run and other projects is so important.
And it's better that people learn about child sexual abuse that way than how I did."
Richardson was a stay-at-home mom who decided to form the K.I.D.S. Foundation (www.defendinginnocence.org) after reflecting on the tragedies and brushes with danger she has experienced personally, or though friends, neighbors and loved ones.
As a young girl, Richardson
remembers two girls abducted and killed who lived close to her
Later, a teenage basketball teammate was abducted on her
way home from school.
lived, but was found sexually abused in another state.
As a young woman, Richardson'
had a friend whose daughter narrowly escaped abduction and now she's
concerned for her
daughter after the babysitting episode with the sex offender.
The Lunsford case propelled Richardson to act, and she now spends much of her time volunteering and organizing events like the Jessica Lunsford run and calling attention to the work of her K.I.D.S. Foundation.
"This is all about alerting people to the dangers that are out there.
If they can learn how dangerous this is -- and how to take protect their children -- from a fun event like the Jessica Lunsford
run then that's great," Richardson
CONTACT: Kecia Richardson
is available for media interviews by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 813-727-0786.
Pre-registration for the 2nd Annual Jessica Marie Lunsford Run -- the Run for Innocence is available online at the K.I.D.S. Foundation
Web site at www.defendinginnocence.org.
The pre-registration fee is $20 through April 12.
Registration after that costs $25.
Richardson's K.I.D.S. Foundation
is presenting the race on behalf of the Jessica Marie Lunsford Foundation
, which helps children in crisis.
was a stay-at-home mom who organized car pools and play dates and ran her
, 43, created a foundation to help keep kids safe, educating children on safety and making the public aware of child predators.
On Saturday, Richardson
biggest endeavor yet: a run/ walk in memory of the girl from Citrus County whose smiling face beneath a fuzzy purple hat had been flashed across television screens across the nation.
"I'm fed up," Richardson
said of child abductions.
News of her
disappearance and murder topped the news nationwide and angered many, including Richardson
started the K.I.D.S. Foundation
to fight to keep children safe and later contacted Lunsford about holding the charity run.
"A lot of people run for a lot of issues," Richardson
"I felt compelled to run for children that are abused."
will organize runs in the states that pass Jessica's Law.
next stop will be Charlotte, N.C., in the fall.
"We're going to keep going," she