Run will benefit Sandy Hook fund
By Michelle Linn-Gust firstname.lastname@example.org March 18, 2013 6:28PM
Nancy Hotchkiss of Naugatuck, Conn. hangs an ornament on a tree at a memorial for the shooting victims in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn., Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
How to help
What: Naperville Runs for Sandy Hook 5K Run/Walk that benefits the Sandy Hook School Support Fund
When: 8 a.m. Saturday, March 23
Where: Danada Forest Preserve, Wheaton
Parking: DuPage Forest Preserve offices, 3s580 Naperville Road in Wheaton. Additional parking is available across Naperville Road at the Danada House. All participants are encouraged to carpool as much as possible as parking is limited.
To register: The Hartford Marathon Foundation has capped the virtual run participation at 15,000 people, but with a $30 donation to the Naperville team site, one can still participate in the Naperville run.
Donations: Anyone interested in donating toward the event costs can email email@example.com
Updated: April 21, 2013 6:15AM
The images run through everyone’s minds: the stuffed animals, the candles, the flowers. The stories include warehouses that were filled with items designated for each of the families. People laid material items at sites that became memorials for the 27 people killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December. But for some, simply making a donation isn’t always enough.
“When Sandy Hook happened, it really affected me,” said Naperville resident Peggy Wainscott. “I wanted to do something other than make a donation and say prayers.”
She noticed that a 5K run was scheduled in Hartford, Conn., and that people were creating virtual runs in other places. Wainscott gathered her friends Kim Weeks and Joan Brant and suggested they create their own 5K here in the area.
She chose these two friends because she knew that Weeks had organized fundraising events before and Joan had experiencing creating triathlons. Wainscott works as a marketing consultant for small businesses and knew she could get the word out using social media.
“We took this to heart like a lot of people did,” said Weeks of the Connecticut shootings. “Anybody, even if not a parent is impacted. The idea that you drop your child off at school and think they’re safe hits home.”
The notion of feeling helpless at times of tragedy isn’t new or unusual.
“The basis for empathy is that, when something happens to someone else, we can also feel a little bit of what that individual may be experiencing,” said clinical psychologist Joe Roszkowski, of Pathways Consulting in Winfield. “And that capacity can be frightening and in the case of Sandy Hook, unnerving.”
To put together a run, especially one where they aren’t sure how many people will show, can be a daunting task. Yet for these three women, it’s their opportunity to contribute.
“We look at this as something to do, not just runners looking to run,” Weeks said.
They had to meet with the forest preserve and sketch out all the logistics. Wainscott knew her friends, with their own experiences could help, and they used any obstacles as opportunities to continue to push forward. Time also has not been their friend, having created this idea just two about two months ago.
“Initially I wasn’t sure we had enough time to do this,” Wainscott said. “But we were persistent.”
The reward has come in seeing a posting from one of the victim’s families in social media and that the Naperville event is listed on the main run page for the Hartford event. They also have been told that a group of elementary school students plans to take part in the run/walk.
“While there is a basic human tendency to pull away from the vulnerability that these feelings create, there is also an underlying courage that leads some to embrace that sense of vulnerability and transform that into something healing,” Roszkowski said. “This unites people in the very best sense in working to provide some good and renewed reason for hope in the wake of senseless tragedy.”
No matter how many people show up or how many donations they receive, they know they put forth a way of coping and healing.
“I’m not sure how many people we’ll have at the run but for us it feels like we’re contributing,” said Wainscott.
They also have created an event where people will come to run or walk but also connect.
While no one can change the past, what any person can do is go forward and make the most of the future by bringing people together in an opportunity to strengthen ties and the reality that no one is immune to tragedy.
And when we feel helpless, there is some way that we all can contribute and show our support.