The Naperville North Cross Country team organized a 5K charity race in remembrance of one of their teammates who was lost to suicide. Check out their Off the Field story presented by Molly Maids of the Aurora Naperville Area.
After Lucas Gerber, a member of the Naperville North Boys Cross Country team was lost to suicide in 2017, his huskie teammates joined together and started planning the Huskies Run to Remember.
Jeremy Liu, “Every since Lucas passes away over 2 years ago we’ve always done little things to commemorate and remember him. Throughout the pas few years we’ve gotten together to celebrate his birthday, we continue drinking his favorite ice tea and other things. And as it comes to the end of our senior year we wanted to celebrate his legacy and prevent others from suffering the same fate and experience what we had to experience.”
Jeremy Liu, a senior and captain of the team, was one of Lucas’ friends and has been planning this 5K charity run for over a year along with some of the other captains that knew Lucas. Coach Tim Brown watched the event take shape, “I am overwhelmed with how much they have done. It really is student driven since day one. They wanted to do this and I’ve really kind of been hands off and let them work and do this and to see them come together and put a wonderful thing together and it’s all based on what he meant to them and this team. I am just ecstatic.”
The money raised from the event is being donated to two different organizations. Hope for the Day, a suicide prevention foundation and the Megan Muir Foundation, which provides education on Mental Health Awareness. Liu and the rest of the organizers were only expecting 100 runners… until about a week before… “A couple weeks ago we thought that we were only going to get about 75-100 people and our registration numbers only showed that but we’ve more than tripled that in less than a week,” said Liu.
The double in participants only excelled the organizers expectations. It also meant that their message was reaching a lot more people.
“One thing that I really hope people take away is that the mental health isn’t something you should be joking about and that there is still a stigma that surrounds mental health. With this event I just want people to notice that hey there are still these stigmas and we still need to focus on de-stigmatizing these thing because they effect communities like ours here and it effects everyone around us,” remarks Liu.
And even though Jeremy and the other organizers are graduating, they hope that other teammates will step up and continue this run for years to come.
Check out other stories like this in our Athlete Profile!
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