CHICAGO (WLS) — The vast majority of runners who will participate in the Chicago Marathon Sunday are doing it to reach a personal goal, and many of them are also running for charity and to raise money. For some, the cause hits very close to home.
Runner shuffled into the Chicago Marathon Expo at the McCormick Place two days before the big race, excited about the challenge ahead.
For many, the marathon is a huge personal challenge. The motivation is even greater for runners like Eduardo Cabrer, who lost his 35-year-old cousin Spencer to suicide several years ago. He will run to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“Running with the American Foundation, it just means a lot to bring awareness to the mental aspect of life,” Cabrer said.
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More than 200 charity runners are raising nearly half a million dollars for the foundation at this year’s marathon. The fund will go towards raising awareness of mental health issues that can lead to suicide.
AFSP Program Director Steve Moore will run on Sunday in honor of his 19-year-old son who died by suicide.
“Even raising money brings suicide out of the darkness, because they have to talk with people,” Moore said.
Many runners will also attach pictures of lost loved ones to their shirts. Having a booth at the event will also expose the group to a larger audience. A lot of the charities have booths at the expo to raise money and awareness of their cause.
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“We’re able to reach a new audience,” said Marisa Perino with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Nearly a quarter of the runners in the field are running for charity, about 14,000. They have raised a total for all the charities combined.
If you need someone to talk to, help is available 24 hours a day. Call the Suicide And Crisis Lifeline at 988.