Roller derby team making 2,800 mile trip to benefit good cause

A group of women are skating across the nation to bring a major issue to the forefront. "States on Skates" is trekking from Florida to California to raise awareness and funds to stop domestic violence and sexual assault worldwide.

Roller derby is
a sport that isn't for the faint of heart but it has made a comeback in Austin. There's an exhibit dedicated to the sport at the Bullock Museum.

"Roller derby has populated over the years, it has grown to be really big. I would never expect roller derby to be in a museum," said skater Yazzy Molina.

"The resurgence of roller derby happened right here in Austin in 2001 and to have these women to come and see our exhibit is a great pleasure to us," said Toni Beldock, Head of Exhibit Design.

The exhibit is popular enough that it attracted the States on Skates team while on their trek to California. But there's more to this team than meets the eye. They have already traveled around 1,400 miles to get here.

"This experience has been challenging, we've skated over 40 miles most days and we've seen a really wide spectrum of weather, of people, of road conditions," said Gracie Cole, skater.

The team is skating 2,800 miles, hitting eight states, in 78 days, all for one cause.

"We are skating to benefit the Joyful Heart Foundation and they help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse," said Cole.

"There are a lot of people out there who've gone through that, or know someone who's gone through that so for them I feel like they take it very personal for them, also me as well," said Molina.

They began in Cocoa Beach, Florida and won't stop until they get to Santa Monica. Their goal is to $50,000.

"We have encountered so much kindness along the way and we would just encourage people. Every bit helps, $5 if that's what people can give, a cup of coffee, said Cole.

"We eat almost non-stop and it's like very calorically dense foods "said Cole.

With another 1,400 miles to go, the ladies' skates may be showing signs of wear and tear, but their perseverance does not look to be fading away anytime soon.

"I think it's just amazing for the cause they're standing up for and for everything that they're doing. It takes time and energy for them to do this and I just think they're really strong and courageous.

Just four out of the group are making the whole trip from Florida to California. Some have joined for a few miles along the way.

So far they've hit $12,000. To donate, you can go online here or if you see them around Austin over the next few days you can donate directly or give a word of encouragement.

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