The Olmsted family of Orland Park has managed to turn tragedy into triumph through Erin’s AIMM for Change 5K Run and Walk, which is set for 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.
The annual event, now in its sixth year at the in in Orland Park, helps raise money for the Erin E. Olmsted Memorial Scholarship, which was created to honor the 17-year-old high school student killed on March 2, 1997, by a drunk driver.
Her family has awarded $45,000 in scholarships in her name to 37 recipients from Sandburg High School over the past 15 years.
In 2011, a scholarship program in her name was started at by teacher Kate Morris, Erin’s sister.
“We do this to remember Erin and to create awareness for drunken driving,” said Erin’s father, Gerry Olmsted.
The family partnered up with the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists 14 years ago to help spread the word about the dangers of drunken driving. Kate Morris is a frequent speaker on the impact of drunk driving on a victim’s family at high schools, universities and courthouses.
“The run gets pretty good participation,” said Olmsted. “We have 85 sponsors this year, so we’ll have lots of door prizes to give away to participants.”
“There will be 40 kids from Sandburg acting as volunteers on Sunday,” Olmsted said describing how active the school is in the event.
“Plainfield East always sends a busload of kids to participate,” he said describing how successful the effort has been.
“I anticipate we’ll have 450 participants preregistered by Friday,” Olmsted said. “Then depending on the weather, we’ll have 500 to 600 on hand on Sunday.”
Participants donate from $15 to $25 each depending on their age group and all proceeds go to the scholarship fund. “Some people will just send in a donation,” Olmsted said.
“People can sign up online until Saturday morning,” Olmsted said. “And you can just walk up and sign up on Sunday.”
For information and to sign up or make a donation, go to Erin’s AIMM for Change.