Runners support their own local causes in the Human Race

  • The Human Race brings together runners for a 5K that raises money for more than 60 nonprofit organizations serving DuPage County. The fourth annual race steps off at 9 a.m. Saturday.

      The Human Race brings together runners for a 5K that raises money for more than 60 nonprofit organizations serving DuPage County. The fourth annual race steps off at 9 a.m. Saturday. Daniel White | Staff Photographer, APRIL 2013

  • The USATF-certified 5K course follows paved streets in Downers Grove, where runners can challenge themselves to win or to finish among the top three males or females in their age group.

      The USATF-certified 5K course follows paved streets in Downers Grove, where runners can challenge themselves to win or to finish among the top three males or females in their age group. Daniel White | Staff Photographer, APRIL 2013

  • In addition to a 5K course for runners, the Human Race offers a 2-mile route for walkers who want to support one of 67 nonprofit organization that benefit from the race.

      In addition to a 5K course for runners, the Human Race offers a 2-mile route for walkers who want to support one of 67 nonprofit organization that benefit from the race. Daniel White | Staff Photographer, APRIL 2013

 
 
Updated 4/23/2015 10:28 AM

Look around on any given weekend and you're sure to find some big-hearted, passionate people out running or walking with a purpose.

They gather in suburban parks or our communities' downtowns, united by a shared cause: to cure cancer, to fight AIDS. They've signed up for a race to support an organization they believe in, they've asked family and friends to join them or to donate, and they're putting their feet to the pavement to demonstrate their commitment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

This weekend, you'll find runners and walkers who are just as passionate about smaller, grass-roots nonprofits striding side by side to support their favorite causes. And you're welcome to join them.

The Human Race 5K run and fitness walk is a fundraising race for the little guys.

Organized by Giving DuPage, which helps local nonprofits and volunteers find each other, the Human Race benefits 67 organizations working to make life better for those living in DuPage County.

As runners and walkers register, they choose which organization benefits from their participation.

For people who believe everything starts with having a roof over your head, the run may benefit Community Housing Advocacy and Development, DuPage Habitat for Humanity or the DuPage Homeownership Center. Those who want to ensure no one goes hungry can support food pantries in Glen Ellyn, Naperville and Elmhurst.

Participants who feel strongly about education can back the Robert Crown Centers for Health Education, Literacy DuPage and even a few school organizations. Those who are passionate about pets may sign up on behalf of humane societies in Naperville and Hinsdale.

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Other participating organizations help children with autism and other special needs, support seniors and veterans, fund the arts and preserve history.

The 5K run and 2-mile walk step off at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 25, from the Esplanade at Locust Point, 1901 W. Butterfield Road, Downers Grove. If you feel passionate about any of the participating organizations, you can sign up for the Human Race on site beginning at 7:15 a.m.

Today, five Human Race participants tell us why they're passionate about their causes.

Clare Woods Academy

Stacy Jeske's daughter struggled in public school due to cognitive impairment and behavioral and emotional issues. The Naperville family found Clare Woods Academy in Wheaton, a school Jeske says changed the family's life. She'll join the Human Race on Saturday to raise money for the school. Read about Clare Woods.

Synapse House

When Chris Zinski of Wheaton suffered a brain injury and worked through medical rehab, his wife, Pattie, saw he needed more to his life than puttering around the house and looking for something to do to fill the day. She and Deborah Giesler founded Synapse House, a clubhouse with outreach and social activities run by and for people like Chris. Pattie Zinski will take part Saturday in the Human Race to raise money for the organization. Read about Synapse House.

The Greenhouse

Originally daunted by the idea of home schooling, Lisa Bastian and her husband came to believe it would be a better fit for their son, Cooper, than his traditional school setting. They discovered The Greenhouse, which provides instruction following a classical education model, could supplement their at-home education. Bastian will take part in the Human Race on Saturday to give back to the organization that helped her educate her children. Read about The Greenhouse.

Little Giraffe Foundation

When Jennifer Beckman of Woodridge was spending all her free time in the neonatal intensive care unit pulling for her son Ryan after his twin, Adam, died, she found a book from the Little Giraffe Foundation waiting in the room one day. The token left a lasting impression on her, and she will support the foundation's efforts to help premature infants and their families by taking part in the 2015 Human Race. Read about Little Giraffe.

People's Resource Center

Madeleine McAfee of Lombard will be participating in Saturday's Human Race to raise money for People's Resource Center where she's a volunteer. The organization offers emergency financial assistance, a food pantry and clothes closet as well as programs to help clients improve their skills and have a successful job hunt. Read about People's Resource Center.

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