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Meridian music teacher takes on treacherous marathon to help raise money for his students

Ben Blessing, the band and choir music director at Compass Public Charter School, will run in an ultramarathon in Death Valley to raise money for his students.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — For some students at Compass Public Charter School in Meridian, simply not being afford an instrument can become an insurmountable barrier to following their passions, but the school's band and choir director is taking extreme steps to help his students.

Ben Blessing is planning on running in the 2019 Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135 mile run through California's Death Valley, in hopes of raising money to pay for his students' instruments for years to come. He also hopes it'll hit a high note within the Treasure Valley community.

He says instruments can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000, and for some instruments, the cost can be much higher.

Blessing hopes running this extreme marathon will inspire people to donate towards his cause.

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"I would like to raise $50,000 so that we can buy enough instruments that for the next few years so that every child who would like to take the class," Blessing said. "But couldn't afford the money to take the class, we could have a band instrument available for them to use."

For Blessing, trekking through some of the country's harshest weather condition is worth making sure every student that wants to play music can and not be stopped by financial barriers.

Death Valley's record high temperatures hover around 130 degrees in July and the marathon will be on July 15, right when the area nears record temps.

 "It's very important to me that every student have access to a great music education," Blessing said. "Oftentimes a lot of families will have an instrument for their child to use, but it may be really old and it doesn't work very well."

Blessing was inspired by a middle school band director and he now wants to do the same for his students. He says the knowledge gained through music will be key for the rest of their lives.

To donate to Blessing's GoFundMe, click here.

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