When Ken Saveth ran his first marathon at the age of 40, his first reaction was never to do that again.
He will soon be 50, and he is planning to run his first 100-miler. Now, however, he’s running for a reason.
To make a living, Saveth works as a senior applications engineer for Weatherford International Ltd.
To make a difference, he is founder and managing director of Know No Boundaries Ltd., a non-profit with a mission to help eliminate boundaries for people who are physically challenged.
He said the name came from the boundaries he had set on himself before he ran his first marathon – and the boundaries people set for themselves.
“If you think about it, in life the boundaries people have – be it spiritual, financial, emotional, physical – they have set themselves,” Saveth said.
“About four years ago, I ran a marathon in New Mexico. It’s called the Bataan Memorial Death March, and it’s in memory of the soldiers who lost their lives in Bataan during the war. There was a gentlemen in that marathon running with two prosthetic legs. I guess what caught me was, nobody told him he couldn’t do it. He figured it was a great opportunity to run a marathon. The fact he had no legs wasn’t a concern of his.”
Saveth said he has always wanted to help people, but didn’t know what to do.
“After about seven years of having dreams and thoughts and wrestling with what I should do, I thought, ‘Maybe I just need to see Monsignor (Patrick) Gaalaas. I know him personally, and I was really struggling with this. … When I told Monsignor Gaalaas about it, he asked me one pivotal question. He said, ‘Ken, did you ever think that maybe God is giving you a message?’ I said, ‘I didn’t think about that. I just thought I was being selfish, and I didn’t want to be selfish, so I kept brushing it off.’
“Monsignor Gaalaas said, ‘God wants you to do something. Maybe you don’t know what it is. You need to take a step of faith.’”
His step of faith was creating Know No Boundaries.
“We got some board members and filed for the foundation 501c3 status with the federal government.Last year, we got our status. … I’m going to be trying to raise money to supply especially wheelchairs and at some point prosthetics, counseling and mentoring as the foundation grows. Right now, we’re just going to try to look at wheelchairs,” Saveth said.
In August, he made contact with the American Wheelchair Mission, founded by Christopher Lewis, Jerry Lewis’ son.
“I picked up the phone and called him ... I explained about my foundation, and I said, ‘From your perspective, all you need is money to get wheelchairs. My foundation could be a source of that money. We could get wheelchairs from you to send where we need.”
The men formed what Saveth calls an unofficial alliance. The first money that comes into the foundation will be used to purchase a container of 110 wheelchairs, mixed between those for children and adults, to be sent to Broken Arrow. Cost of the wheelchairs will be $16,500 from point of manufacture, which is in China, to anywhere. He plans to give away the first one when he finishes his first 100-mile run.
Saveth’s next challenge is raising the money. He received the first official donation in July, a check for $1,150.50, from Brian Hoover of Runner’s World.
To learn more about Know No Boundaries, visit www.knownoboundaries.org.