The last G.L.O.W. 5K run brings together the Naperville community

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Over 200 volunteers and 1,500 runners came out to 5th Avenue Station Saturday night to support the last G.L.O.W. 5K run to honor Jeanine Nicarico and raise money for the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy.

How the G.L.O.W. 5K run began

“Two ladies, Mary Kelly and Mary Bazan, were the starters of this when they initiated this run 20-some odd years ago, and it has grown into what it is now. Our daughters, Chris and Kathy, and their friend Tracy have kept it going and made it bigger and better every year,” said Pat Nicarico.

The race started to pay tribute to Jeanine, who was abducted from her Naperville home and murdered in 1983 when she was just ten years old. Its mission has always been advocating literacy in Naperville schools, a cause the community continues to support, though the race has now run its last lap.

The Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Find for Literacy gives back to children

“The fund, the foundation will continue, but it’s just another way of giving back to the community,” said Tom Nicarico.

The Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy will continue in honor of Jeanine and further support reading for children. But saying goodbye to the fundraising run comes with mixed emotions.

The last G.L.O.W. 5K run brings back memories from past runs

“I think after so many years of doing this, it’s just like the girls are getting tired, and it takes a lot of work to put this together, and I think they just need a break from it now. Not saying that they won’t come up with some fundraiser, and it’s bittersweet to them also,” said Pat Nicarico.

After 21 years of lighting up the night in Jeanine’s memory, her family says they know she’d be proud, as once at the race in 2013, they saw what they called a colorful sign of support.

“It had rained, and runners took off. The rain stopped, and there was a rainbow right over there, a beautiful rainbow. It was like, wow. Jeanine is definitely looking down on all of us. It was very special,” said Pat Nicarico.

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