GRAND RAPIDS,Mich. - It was a day that changed Grand Rapids forever. Nearly four years ago, Jennifer Heeren lost her life to domestic violence. She was killed along with her daughter Kamrie, her parents Tom and Becky and three other people by her estranged husband Rodrick Dantzler. He eventually took his own life following the murder spree. That tragedy happened back in the Summer of 2011. Since then her family, Safe Haven Ministries and runners have kept her memory alive while raising awareness about domestic violence.
Today was the kickoff for the "Running for Jenny" Campaign". Each year the team gathers for the Fifth Third Bank River Bank Run. Safe Haven Ministries Executive Director Cindy Sielawa says,"what we want the community to know is how important it is that we all take a stand against domestic violence it is preventable." In this case taking a stand means taking a run during the Fifth Third River Bank Run. Runners and donors can now sign up to support the "Running for Jenny" team. They are running to raise awareness about violence. Sielawa says, "the response is overwhelming... when we started we had about 100 runners and we have well over 200 so we have doubled and this will be the fourth year".
The run is in May, but the kick off was today. Anyone can sign up to run or support the "Running for Jenny" team. You can register now and even buy a t'shirt. The Heeren family wants the public to know the campaign can make a difference. Family spokesperson Kylene Dalton-Koons says, "they would want people to know that awareness and education is what is going to end this epidemic of domestic violence and are committed to doing that especially through the running for jenny campaign."
To sign up or donate, go to www.running forjenny.org.