The Runners


David Askew

David started drawing when he was 6 years of age. He has been homeless since 2001 before moving into the Midnight Mission about in 2012. He moved into his own apartment last July and is managing a small apartment complex. David is also pursuing a career as an artist.

Ben Shirley

Ben was a professional musician who played bass guitar in a heavy metal band. Alcohol and drugs destroyed his career. He wound up homeless. He was 300 pounds and was nicknamed “Big Ben” when he joined the running club. He is resurrecting his music career and is enrolled at Los Angeles Community College and is also studying stand-up bass at the Colburn School of Music. His goal is to compose for film and television.


Rebecca Hayes

Rebecca was homeless off and on for about seven years as a result for her drug and alcohol problems. She and her three year-old son were admitted to the Midnight Mission where she lived until very recently.

Mody Diop

Originally from Senegal, Mody was attending college in New York, when his academic career was derailed by drugs and alcohol. He was a member of the running club but relapsed and began living on the street again. He is recently back running with the group and is clean and sober. Because of documentation issues, he will probably not be running in Rome, but his presence in the running club provides him with a sense of purpose and discipline. He is trying to get back into school to finish his education.


Rafael Cabrera

At the age of 17, Rafael shot and killed a 15-year-old member of a rival gang. He was sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled in 2011 after serving 29 years of his sentence. He became acquainted with the Judge during one of his parole hearings. After his release, he joined the running club. “The Judge gave me a second chance, which meant a lot to me,” says Cabrera, who now works at a faith-based organization that reaches out to the incarcerated and their families.