NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Sunday, a large crowd gathered on the Yale campus in New Haven to honor the memory of a former student who passed away 15 years ago. Her memory lives on through an annual event known as “Julia’s Run for Children.”
This group of runners all have one thing in common, they’re pounding the pavement in honor of Julia Rusinek.
“Julia was a student at Yale. She loved running and she loved helping children,” said Roza Rusinek, Julia’s mother.
Roza Rusineck is Julia’s mother. Sadly, her daughter passed away unexpectedly in the summer of 1999.
“She had a heart condition that we were not aware of and basically she collapsed in the street there,” said Rusinek.
A void felt by her friends at Yale.
“She was an extraordinary person. Generous, warm, supportive, kind,” said Andrew Krause, Julia’s friend.
The family says they wanted to remember their daughter in a meaningful way. So they came up with “Julia’s Run for Children” which is now in its 15th year.
Runners turned out Sunday for the 4 mile run to show their support.
And since helping children was so near and dear to Julia, the money raised from Sunday’s race will do just that.
The money will go to LEAP, a youth service organization that provides year round programming for kids throughout New Haven.
“It goes to support general leap programming it will support a wide range of things, counselors salaries. We work hard to hire well trained counselors and mentors to work with our children,” said Lucy Diaz, Director of Development, LEAP.
For Julia’s family and friends, this run has helped to keep her memory alive.
“Now a lot of other people know about her and her spirit and what she loved and what she was about so it’s great to see all these people here,” said Krause.
“It’s been 15 years and people build on and they build careers and families and yet they take the time to come here it’s amazing, it’s really amazing,” said Rusinek.