One year after the death of student DJ Henry, family and friends hosted the first annual Dream Fund Fun Run to benefit the non-profit 501(c) organization founded in his name.
The run was hosted at in Henry's hometown of Easton, MA.
More than 300 runners participated in the first annual race, which surpassed expectations, according to event organizer Kerry Kilkelly.
“It’s amazing. I’m shocked,” she said. “We ran out of numbers [at registration] and it’s amazing. I’m very happy with the turnout.”
Seeing neighbors with "I am DJ Henry" signs during one of her morning jogs, Kilkelly thought it would be appropriate to get her family and friends involved as well, dedicating the race in Henry’s honor.
“I kind of wanted something to get my family and friends involved in,” Kilkelly recalled. “I thought 'why not a 5K?' We got the process underway last spring as I was jogging in the neighborhood looking at all the signs with DJ on the lawn and I thought that this would be something that I could do and be a part of.”
The runners couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to run with a light wind and a temperature in the low 60s.
“Weather has been great and it was great today. I am blessed by that,” said DJ's father, Danory Henry Sr. “I’m happy that people came out today and support the DJ Henry Dream Fund.”
The Run for Children is one of several events that the DJ Henry Fund has put together. In August, the organization ran its first annual golf tournament and earlier this month was dedicated in his honor.
Obviously, there are more plans in the coming weeks and months, including a Gala next Saturday in the Seaport District in Boston and an auction in December, just in time for the holiday season.
“We have a Gala coming up as well as an online, eBay style auction with our partner Good Sports that will kick off in December, just in time for the holiday season,” Henry stated.
Not only has the Town of Easton and since the 20-year-old's death, but the hip-hop community has also lent its support as well with to DJ Henry back in August.
The Henrys said it is equally important for them is to give back to the communities that have embraced them with open arms before and after the tragedy.
“Some of the events are things that are specific to the death of DJ, like the Gala,” said Henry Sr. “These fundraisers are really important to generate the funds to give back to the community.”
On behalf of the Henry family, the patriarch gave thanks to the race's volunteers, like Kilkelly, and the community support on Saturday.
“We appreciate the people who have organized it,” he said, “and, we really appreciate the people who turned out for the run today.”