Each week we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. This week we’re featuring Mark Rautiola of Neon Extreme, a group of young professionals that share a passion for being active and impacting the greater good. Here’s what he had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Harnessing a group of young, enthusiastic, hard-working people to do an extraordinary amount of good. Collectively, our group ran 529 miles last year in a 24 hour period and raised over $50,000 for Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) research. This year we expect to double both mileage and fundraising goals.
How did you achieve it?
Everything we achieve is from hard work and help from our amazing friends, family, and support network. Hard work and enthusiasm for a cause can take you a long way.
What motivates you to make the world a better place?
We are motivated by the ability to make a difference in people’s lives. The founders of Project ReMind saw first-hand what FTD can do to families and our group knows that we can help make a huge difference by taking part in this event and hopefully inspiring others to do what they can to help a cause that’s important to them.
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
We run. A lot. Though cross-training is definitely an important part of our regimen also. Swimming, biking, and weight training are all vital pieces of the puzzle.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was from something that Steve Jobs said: “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” I think most people who strive to make a difference have an aha moment, and that was mine.
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
The best part of using Charity Miles is that I can connect with a cause while I’m training for my own fundraising run. I can help other charities raise crucial funds while I do what I would be doing anyways. The ability to choose between a variety of causes is also great. The majority of our group is based in Boston and after the horrible tragedy at the Marathon, a number of us ran for Achilles International to do our small part in helping those in need.
Who do you exercise for, and why?
Our group is made up of a lot of people who really enjoy running, so I’d say they do it for themselves and for their own enjoyment as well as for our cause. However, there are a large number of our group who probably wouldn’t be runners if it wasn’t for their commitment to Project ReMind and our fundraising aspirations. These are the people that are most impressive, because it’s truly a selfless act.

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