The 8th annual "Run to Remember" drew thousands of runners and walkers this morning at the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park near Soldier Field.
The race started with a special message.
"Just want to say thank you to the memorial fund giving me this opportunity to give back a little bit for all they've done to help my family to give to me," said officer Del Pearson. "I just wanted to give back to them. Please please keep giving"
Pearson was wounded while chasing a suspect on the South Side in March. He was shot in the shoulder and is still in intensive rehab.
Pearson, and his collegues that didn't survive incidents in the line of duty are the reasons so many people took part in the event.
Cedric Brumley said he is an example of how the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation helps families.
"I was the first recipient after the memorial," Brumley said. they gave me $10,000 to help modify my van so it can be accessible for me and I can take my kids to school"
Brumley was paralized from the waist down after his squad car was t-boned by another vehicle in August of 2002. The foundation helped bring back a sense of normalcy to his family's life.
"My kids tuition is paid in full, something I'd never be able to do in my current state," Brumley said.
Twin brothers Adam and Craig were only 4 months old when their dad, officer Bernie Domagala was shot in the head during a hostage situation in 1988, and is still suffering from the traumatic brain damage. This is their first time running the race,for him.
"The police department has done so much for the city, to give back to support those people that have gave so much, it's a great event," Craig Domagala said.
Their mom, Denise, turned to the memorial foundation for guidance.
"It's been fantastic to know that we're not out there alone, that there is thousands of people behind us on the department and it may not sound like a lot, but to us it's everything," she said.
Saturday's Run and Walk was part of a weekend of events. Also Saturday, the Chicago Police Enforcers football team took the field in the sixth annual Blue Star Bowl. They took on the Orlando Police Department Guardians at Lane Tech Stadium on the North Side.
Supt. Garry McCarthy helped cheer on the Enforcers in front of about 800 fans. The enforcers won in a rout 30 to 2. They will play the Chicago Blaze, the Chicago Fire Department's football team, on June 3.