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posted: 6/11/2013 2:59 PM

Saturday's 10th annual Walk 5k for Caitlin will be the last

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Submitted by Walk 5K for Caitlin

The 10th annual Walk 5K for Caitlin will be held Saturday at St. Thomas More School, 215 Thomas More Drive, Elgin. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the walk begins at 9 a.m. A silent auction and raffles will follow.

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This 10th anniversary fundraiser will be the last and final walk hosted by the organizers.

The Walk 5K for Caitlin is held in memory of Caitlin E. Weese, the stepdaughter of Downers Grove paramedic/firefighter Joel Mains.

On May 22, 2003, Caitlin's car was struck by a repeat drunken driver, and she died two days later from injuries. Her death occurred three weeks before her 18th birthday and one week before what would have been her graduation from Larkin High School.

In 2004, Caitlin's mother and stepfather, Diane and Joel Mains founded the Caitlin E. Weese Charitable Trust, aka Walk 5K for Caitlin.

Proceeds from this 501(c) 3 charitable organization funds a college scholarship to a Larkin High School student in memory of Caitlin, helps to support St. Thomas More School, which graciously hosts the walk each year, and also supports the victims' assistance fund for the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists.

In August 2006, Caitlin's mother, Diane, died unexpectedly at the age of 48. The official cause of death was complications of heart surgery, but her friends and family believe that she succumbed to a broken heart after the loss of her child.

Diane was the main driving force of Walk 5K for Caitlin, so to honor her, family and friends worked hard to make this legacy remain successful. The goal has been to raise enough funds to help the scholarship become self-sustaining and to continue to support AAIM and its initiatives.

This year's 10th anniversary walk will fall on what would have been Caitlin's 28th birthday. This year also will be the last and final walk hosted by Caitlin's family.

"We are very thankful to the many volunteers, family and friends who have helped support us all these years. We believe we have reached our goal to make the scholarship fund in Caitlin's memory self-sustaining and feel it's only fitting to conclude the final walk on Caitlin's 28th birthday Saturday, June 15," said a family spokesman.

Raffles and a silent auction follow the walk, with items including sports memorabilia, restaurant gift certificates, entertainment packages and more.

Additional raffles include cash prizes and other donated items.

Registration is $20 or $10 for children ages 6 to 18 and free for kids age 5 and younger.

Registered walkers will receive a free T-shirt.

Monetary donations and products/services for the raffles and silent auctions will be gratefully accepted.

For information, to make a donation or to register in advance online, visit walk5kforcaitlin.com.

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