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'ER' star Edwards ready to run

By Doug Ganley, CNN
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E.R. actor runs for good cause
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Anthony Edwards, former "ER" actor, is active in Shoe4Africa
  • Organization seeks to raise money for a pediatric hospital in Kenya
  • Edwards will be running the New York Marathon Sunday as part of fundraising
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New York (CNN) -- Anthony Edwards is a runner.

He's got the long, lean build that you see all over New York City in the days before the New York City Marathon, which is scheduled for Sunday.

Edwards has run marathons before, and this year he aims to complete his fourth. But his goals have very little in common with a typical competitor.

He is trying to change the lives of thousands of African children by raising money to build a pediatric hospital in Kenya.

If you don't recognize the name, you'd recognize the face. He was a glasses-wearing geek in "Revenge of the Nerds," Tom Cruise's best friend in "Top Gun" and most famously on the TV show "ER," on which he played Dr. Mark Greene, the conscience of the emergency room, for eight seasons. (He'll be running the New York City Marathon in a shirt that resembles doctor's scrubs.)

It's that latter role that is helping him promote his real-life role as the chairman of Shoe4Africa, a charity that started out donating running shoes to children who were used to walking on bare feet. Blog: More about Edwards' efforts

But Edwards says the Kenyan government asked them to step up and move beyond the basics. The government asked them to help them build a pediatric teaching hospital, a challenge that the organization has taken on in stride.

"A real teaching hospital" is the goal said Edwards, because they can be taken "for granted in this country but they just don't exist in Africa."

Edwards and more than 30 other fundraisers for the group --including other actors, some professional runners and local celebrities -- will lace up their sneakers and run for a cause.

"Even now, we're getting close to the $80,000 or $90,000, so it's beyond our expectations," Edwards says, noting the group has already exceeded its goals without taking a step.

If you're interested in this cause, you can check out the organization at shoe4africa.org.