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Why this Hopewell man walked a 5K in five-inch heels: 'It was very symbolic

Hopewell man takes raising awareness to new heights
Posted at 8:02 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 20:44:09-04

HOPEWELL, Va. -- Johnny Partin has always made it a point to participate in an annual event to raise awareness for domestic violence. When he wasn't able to attend the event this year, he decided to take his community's 5K walk to new heights.

The Chesterfield County native took to the streets for the walk - in a pair of five-inch heels.

Hopewell man walks 5K in five-inch heels to raise awareness for domestic violence, breast cancer

"As the 5K was approaching, I thought about whether I should do a costume or whether I should walk for a cause. And I actually had remembered that the month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And it's also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So, I thought it would be a good idea to do a walk for breast cancer awareness and for domestic violence awareness," Partin said.

Partin became involved with these causes after some of those closest in his life were directly impacted by breast cancer or domestic violence. His grandmother ended up dying from three cancers, one of which was breast cancer.

He decided that each mile would be dedicated to someone in his life who had been affected by either issue. He said that walking in the heels was symbolic of the painful journey that these others were going through.

"I think it was a really good, iconic experience. Because from stories that I've heard of people that go through either domestic violence or go through breast cancer, they have a very tough time. And so I thought it was very symbolic that you do this walk," Partin explained.

The first mile was dedicated to his late grandmother, the second mile was dedicated to his friend Dr. Debbie Marks, a formal principal at Clover Hill High School in Chesterfield, and the last mile was dedicated to Jackie Dean who has been helping victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and other crimes for 30 years.

Hopewell man walks 5K in five-inch heels to raise awareness for domestic violence, breast cancer

"Once I got through the finish line, it's all family and friends and neighbors, they're cheering. I was able to take those shoes off and go back into comfortable shoes."

Partin said that at the end of the 5K, he thought about what the future of this event could look like. He said that in the future, he would hope to find more people to dedicate the miles walked to.

"My hope was that this brought awareness to major issues that we face in our country."

He said that while this walk was symbolic, his ultimate hope is to raise awareness in his community and past that.

"I do want people to know that if you are going through breast cancer or if you are going through a difficult situation, whether it's domestic violence, spousal abuse, sexual assault or rape, that there are a lot of good organizations out there that will help you and will help you get started on a new life," Partin said.

Partin said he would like his walk to raise awareness for places like the James House in Prince George County. The organization assists victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking in the greater Tri-Cities region. For more information about this organization, visit their website.

To contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, you can call (800) 799-7233. You can also text "START" to 88788. For more information about available resources, visit their website.