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updated: 5/14/2012 6:40 AM

Jeanine Nicarico Run for Reading to support children's literacy

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  • Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, who was murdered at age 10 on Feb. 25, 1983.

      Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, who was murdered at age 10 on Feb. 25, 1983.

  • Runners take off in the 2009 Run for Reading, which supports the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy. In its first 10 years, the program has raised more than $250,000 for children's literacy.

      Runners take off in the 2009 Run for Reading, which supports the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy. In its first 10 years, the program has raised more than $250,000 for children's literacy.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, age 10, just two days before her murder on Feb. 25, 1983.

      Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, age 10, just two days before her murder on Feb. 25, 1983.

 

A 5K walk and run honoring the life of 10-year-old murder victim Jeanine Nicarico will raise money for children's literacy Sunday, May 20, in Naperville.

Participants in the 11th annual Run for Reading step off at 7:30 a.m. from River Woods Elementary School, 2607 River Woods Drive.

Organizers say they're hoping for record attendance of at least 1,000 this year. Race co-chair Mary Bazan said 20 student groups from local schools already have committed.

"We started a committee to reach out to all the schools and develop teams," she said. "They really have canvassed (school) Districts 203 and 204, so we have so many more students participating, which is exactly why we started the race."

The fundraiser supports a literacy fund in memory of Jeanine, who overcame challenges in reading before her untimely death in February 1983. In its first decade, the program has raised more than $250,000 for literacy efforts at Naperville schools.

"It's really quite amazing," Bazan said. "The Nicarico family put such an effort toward making this a positive event, and I am consistently amazed by the lives they have touched and how much support they have. It's wonderful they've turned this into a positive thing and honored Jeanine's life that way."

Organizers had hoped for a crowd of 1,000 last year but were met with inclement weather. Still, the 2011 fundraiser brought in $25,000, Bazan said.

This year's event will feature live music and storybook characters who will be available for photographs.

The race follows a USA Track and Field-certified course through the River Woods, Farmington and Walnut Ridge subdivisions before returning to the elementary school.

Entry fees are $30 on race day. All registered participants receive a T-shirt and a goody bag of coupons and treats, and there will be an awards ceremony and refreshments following the race. Trophies will be awarded in eight age groups.

Participant materials will be available for pickup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Naperville Running Company, 34 W. Jefferson Ave., or on race day from 6:30 to 7:20 a.m. at River Woods Elementary.

To register, visit nicaricoliteracyfund.org or signmeup.com, or call Bazan at (630) 527-1100.

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