Lake Barrington man to run Marathon for Gabby

Lake Zurich teens was killed by hit-and-run driver

  • Chad Hagen of Lake Barrington, is running Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon to help raise money for the family of Gabby Drozdz, the 18-year-old killed in Lake Zurich by a hit-and-run driver.

    Chad Hagen of Lake Barrington, is running Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon to help raise money for the family of Gabby Drozdz, the 18-year-old killed in Lake Zurich by a hit-and-run driver. Courtesy of Chad Hagen

 
 
Updated 10/5/2011 12:43 PM

The hit-and-run death of an 18-year-old Lake Zurich girl has inspired a man to turn his involvement in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon into a fundraiser.

Chad Hagen of Lake Barrington said he plans to run the grueling 26.2-mile marathon Sunday to raise money for Lake County Crime Stoppers, with the goal of increasing its reward from $5,000 to $10,000 to find the driver who killed Gabriella Drozdz.

 

Hagen, the owner of Fiji Construction Inc., said he was personally touched by the story because Drozdz was the baby sitter for his two young children, ages 4 and 2, for three years before she was killed July 22.

The Drozdz family was devastated by the loss of their daughter, Hagen said, and he felt powerless to help.

"I wanted to do something to help the family, and I originally donated a little money to Crime Stoppers, but I wanted to make the reward more attractive," he said. "Nothing will bring Gabby back, but at least the family will have some closure if the driver of the van is caught."

A second runner, Matt Maguire, is also listed on the Drozdz family website as running the marathon and collecting money for the reward fund. Maguire was unavailable for comment.

People are asked to pledge money per mile on either runner, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to increase the reward fund to help Lake Zurich Police in making an arrest in the case.

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"Running for Gabby is a good motivator for me, because I'm not your typical runner. I'm 225 pounds and I run 11- or 12-minute miles," Hagen said. "It'll take six hours to be done, but I've never run for a cause before. But, right now, there is nothing more motivating than this marathon to me."

Drozdz was killed by the driver of a blue-and-white Astro minivan or GMC Safari about 9:30 p.m. as she and two friends walked to Alpine Fest along Church Street in Lake Zurich.

Drozdz died at the scene, authorities said, but her two friends survived.

Money has been donated for a $5,000 reward, but so far, it has not led to the arrest of the driver of the vehicle.

Hagen said he has run five marathons, but this is the first time he is running the Chicago Marathon, and the first as part of a fundraiser.

He asks that anyone interested in donating should view the website gabbydrozdz.com and make a pledge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Drozdz family is also seeking other supporters who would like to participate in the marathon to help raise money to increase the reward payout.

The family said on their website they have created "Justice for Gabby" T-shirts thatárunnersáand other people can wear to help raise money. People looking to purchase a T-shirt to wear during the marathon -- with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly into the Gabby Drozdz Fund -- can also pick one up at the website.

Each shirt is $25, and comes in sizes medium through extra-large.