The History of Run for the Roses• Run for the Roses History
• Run for the Roses First Year
• Education and Support
• Run for the Roses Second Year
• We’ve Come a Long Way
Remember our link to Run for Roses: Run4Roses5k.com
Run for the Roses History
The Roselle Run for the Roses 5K and Youth event started very simply. After several years of participating in a variety of races from local 5 and 10K events to half and full marathons, my wife Sarah and I were out running one spring morning in 1993 and I said to her that I would like to sponsor and produce a race. In her own very wise way she responded, “…If you want to, then do it.” The rest is history.
My goal was to create a family oriented event that would have community sponsorship and involvement and would benefit a worthwhile charitable organization. At that time, I did not have an organization that I had particular strong feelings about, but the American Cancer Society (ACS) seemed like a worthy candidate to receive the funds. I soon discovered that giving away money from an event such as I had in mind was no easy task.
The ACS is a very large charitable organization and they do not lend their name lightly to fund-raising individuals or groups. Apparently, there have been individuals who have scammed the public in the name of charity. Although my intentions were honorable, I had no history with their organization and my advances were met with skepticism. I was told that if they were to lend their name to an event, then 80% of the gross funds generated had to be turned over to the ACS. As a runner and businessman, I knew that a quality event like I had envisioned could not be produced in the first year on a skimpy budget. None the less, I proceeded with my efforts and did not have any reference to the ACS in my printed materials, but did manage to generate a net of about $1200 that I was able to donate to them.
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Run for the Roses First Year
The first year of the race had about 125 participants in the 5K, about 15 children in the youth event and 30 volunteers. We had the support of the Village of Roselle, the Park District, the Roselle Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Police and Fire departments and most importantly the people of Roselle. It was a starting point and we were actually in the black.
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Education and Support
The winter of 1993-94 was an emotional one. My wife and I discovered that our beautiful little girl, Rebecca, had Tourette Syndrome. Not being well educated about TS and like so many other parents, we were distraught, scared and ignorant of what that meant. We sought education and support. My wife spotted a notice in the grade school newsletter about the newly formed Northwest Cook County (NWCC) Tourette Syndrome Support Group. We met a compassionate, intelligent, friendly group of parents of children with TS at the meeting and felt an immediate camaraderie.
One of the things that I noticed immediately about NWCC and later the Illinois Chapter of TSA was that they had tremendous energy, wonderful ideas and great intentions but they were lacking in funds. It occurred to me that I had something that could benefit the group. I had the groundwork for a potentially successful fundraising event that had no definitive beneficiary. The Tourette Syndrome Association became that beneficiary.
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Run for the Roses Second Year
That second year saw many upgrades to the event that have continued to this day. We had an infusion of volunteers from the local chapter. I had a cause that I was devoted and committed to. The Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) accepted us as a Registered race thereby providing us with free advertising and additional runners. The race started to grow. We had 200 participants in year two and continued to have an increase in the number of families that participated together. The event received outstanding reviews and was later elevated to the elite status in CARA of a Circuit Race.
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We’ve Come a Long Way
Through the years the Roselle Run for the Roses and Youth Event have grown. Last year boasted almost 1000 participants with over 80 children in the youth event and 100 volunteers. We provide free child-care, pony rides, a petting zoo, great food including Nancy’s ® Pizza and a wholesome, grass roots type of community event. The registration process is efficient and we strive to continually improve all aspects of the event. The continuing support of virtually all of the original business and community sponsors have maintained a continuity that is hard to find in the world that we live in.
Over the past ten years, we have averaged net proceeds of almost $10,000 annually that have been donated to benefit Tourette Syndrome. The original goal of the race was to provide an event that was community and family oriented, well run and that would benefit a worthwhile charitable organization. All of those goals have been met. Several unforeseen events have occurred as well. My wife and family are proud of me. My daughters that have been diagnosed with TS and I, an adult with TS, have discovered that it is nothing to be ashamed of. Parents of newly diagnosed children with TS who have met us and others involved with the race have discovered that their children with TS can accomplish great things and we have developed a wonderful new set of friends and acquaintances.
Public awareness about TS has improved in recent years. My wife now educates children throughout the grade school district about TS in the “Everybody Counts Program”. The schools are aware and eager to learn about TS and ways to assist students with TS at the level of grade school, junior high and high school. Community members come to my business to get information about TS and ask for referral sources for their children with TS, OCD, OOD, ADD, ADHD and a host of other acronyms. Our local children have had the opportunity to meet such acclaimed athletes with TS as Jim Eisenreich of professional baseball and Mahmoud Abdul-Raouf of the NBA.
We have come a long way but we still have a sizable journey ahead of us. The Steinberg Lighting Roselle Run for the Roses will serve to continue us along that journey. It will help to provide additional public awareness of TS and other co-morbid conditions. It will help to provide funding to support the efforts of those who work to benefit those with TS and perhaps help to one day find a cure for a condition that is not necessarily life threatening but can certainly be life tormenting.
We have been very fortunate that many of the local business and individual sponsors who supported the event in the early years have continued to provide financial support throughout its history. In 2007, the event's name was changed. An extremely benevolent company moved into Roselle, Sternberg Lighting. Sternberg Lighting is an employee owned company with strong ties to the community. Their generosity and kindness has enabled our event to continue to uphold its level of excellence and charitable support that served to establish its original goals.
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