The Boston Marathon bombings on April 15 struck a chord in the heart of many Americans.
With three lives lost and more than 100 runners injured, many United States citizens were shocked by the unbearable and unimaginable tragedy.
Yet through the trials and tears, a Bradley student saw an opportunity for hope and support, and he decided to host a marathon to raise money for one of the victims.
Junior mechanical engineering major Kyle Prader said he was touched by the story of 8-year-old Martin Richard, one of three civilians killed in the bombing.
“I cannot imagine the amount or magnitude of stress and sadness that the Richard family is experiencing,” he said.
With more than $4,000 in donations raised so far and 160 runners who participated in the Run for Boston 5K on Sunday, the event turned out to be a huge win for a hurting family, according to Prader.
“I wanted to do a 5K because of the significance of it all,” he said. “I wanted to give the opportunity to people to finish the race in honor of those who couldn’t.”
Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity co-sponsored the event with a team of Bradley students under Prader’s direction. The event was organized in a matter of days, which Prader attributed to the support of his community.
“If it weren’t for the Peoria community, my fraternity brothers and the Bradley community, this never would have been pulled together in time,” Prader said.
By noon of April 26, Prader said they already had 150 pre-registered runners and were prepared to host as many as 500 participants.
The Bradley Run for Boston website reached viewers internationally and received online donations from the U.S., Switzerland, France and Ireland.
The tweets posted by their Twitter account were retweeted by celebrities such as Toby Keith, Jake Owen and SportsCenter, Prader said.
Yellow Run for Boston t-shirts that feature the Richards’ name on the back are still available for $5.
Prader said he hopes to continue the campaign of raising money for the Richard family into summer and will send the first check to the family June 30.
“I don’t have a connection to the family, but I know that if anything like this ever happened to my cousins or siblings, I don’t know what I’d do,” Prader said. “The story gave me chills. I just wanted to help.”
To purchase a t-shirt or donate online, visit run4bostonpeoria.org or follow the group on Twitter @Run4BostonBU.