Rebecca Cruttenden

Rockford woman takes organization that helps with adoption costs national

August 8, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER A Rockford woman has put together an organization that is helping athletes come to the aid of abandoned and orphaned children worldwide while doing the activities that they enjoy. Rebecca Cruttenden, Team Orphans founder, expanded the organization nationwide in February. Team Orphans also partners with organized events. They are an official charity partner for the Grand Rapids marathon, half marathon and relay on Sunday, Oct. 21, as well as the 5K and 10K events on Saturday, Oct. 20. “It’s a charity campaign for athletes,” Cruttenden said. “There was nothing I could see out there as a benefit for adoption and orphans.” She added, “Anybody picks a race they want to do. It can be biking, walking, running, a triathlon. They set a fundraising goal and 100 percent goes toward child adoption grants.” They work with Brittany’s Hope, a Pennsylvania-based organization helping unite special needs children and families throughout the United States, who want to adopt but are burdened by the cost. Special needs children means kids older than the age of two, sibling groups who want to remain together, to kids who have medical or other special needs. International adoption costs about $30,000 and there are 153 million orphans. Domestic adoptions cost between $10,000 and $15,000. Cruttenden was a 2003 grant recipient when she and her husband, Tom, got their children who were three, four and five. Rosa is now 12, Andre 13 and Sasha 14. Brittany’s Hope has helped 350 children be adopted through grant assistance. About $13,000 has been pledged from 33 team members in 12 different states since February. Brittany’s Hope gives grants primarily to seven different adoption agencies. Bethany Christian Services is one of the larger agencies they work with. Cruttenden, who has raised more than $17,000 personally for Brittany’s Hope in the past two years, will compete in a third Ironman race in November 2012. “When I was in Texas for Ironman, I was excited about raising money. I couldn’t find anyone else who was doing it for a cause,” Cruttenden said. “It’s a huge, huge commitment to do an Ironman. God put it on my heart to give them a cause.” An Ironman is 140.6 miles of biking, swimming and running that has to be […]

Rockford woman takes on Ironman for orphans

March 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

What does an ironman triathlon—a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run—have to do with orphans? Just ask Rebecca Cruttenden, a Rockford resident and mother of three adopted children. “They have everything to do with each other! Orphans are the reason why I race!” Cruttenden said. Last year Cruttenden raced a half ironman and raised $10,000 to help pay for the adoption of a group of five siblings from the Philippines. They are coming home to a West Michigan family this spring. On May 21, 2011, Cruttenden will be competing in Ironman Texas to raise another $10,000 for another sibling group. Cruttenden represents an organization called Brittany’s Hope Foundation, located in Pennsylvania. Brittany’s Hope raises money and places grants on special needs children in orphanages around the world to help encourage their adoption. In the last 10 years, the foundation has helped 350 children find forever families. Brittany’s Hope works with Bethany Christian Services (BCS) in Grand Rapids. BCS finds the adoptive families for the waiting children, while Brittany’s Hope raises money for the grant. Cruttenden’s passion for orphans started when she was 12 years old. After babysitting children in her church who were adopted, she was changed forever. “I lay in bed that night and couldn’t sleep. I felt God’s calling—this is what you’re supposed to do,” said Cruttenden . Since that night over 20 years ago, Cruttenden has always had a special place in her heart for orphans and adoption. She and her husband, Tom, have three children adopted from Russia in 2003: Sasha, 13, Andre, 11, and Rosa, 10. In the past eight years, Cruttenden has helped several other families fundraise for adoptions by organizing garage sales, bake sales, and jewelry shows. But starting last spring, the fundraisers got a lot more physically demanding. Instead of sitting at a garage sale table, she’s out swimming, biking and running all day. “I started doing triathlons four years ago, but it wasn’t until a year ago that I realized I could combine my love for the sport and my heart for orphans,” said Cruttenden. “God brought the two together in a big way.” Cruttenden is on a mission. She has $10,000 to raise before Ironman Texas on May 21, 2011. She currently has 11 […]