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Local News

Ben's Memorial Mile returns to honor memory of Downers Grove Student, raise money for mental health

Children in a wide age range start the Kids' Half Mile race on the Downers Grove North track on Saturday, June 11, 2016. It's part of a series of activities at Ben's Memorial Mile, held by Ben Silver's family to raise money for schizophrenia research. Ben, a former Downers Grove North track athlete, committed suicide while suffering schizophrenia.
Children in a wide age range start the Kids' Half Mile race on the Downers Grove North track on Saturday, June 11, 2016. It's part of a series of activities at Ben's Memorial Mile, held by Ben Silver's family to raise money for schizophrenia research. Ben, a former Downers Grove North track athlete, committed suicide while suffering schizophrenia.

DOWNERS GROVE – Two years removed from the death of a Downers Grove North High School champion runner, his friends, family and community will come together to honor his memory and raise money for schizophrenia during the second annual Ben's Memorial Run June 17.

Last year, more than 400 people of all ages attended the inaugural event in memory of Ben Silver, who died July 2, 2015 at the age of 22.

In total, runners and fundraisers donated more than $22,000 for mental health research and support.

Event organizer and Ben mother Jamie Silver said she felt confident that this year's event would be even bigger.

"Ben was a lover of fun ... he was really warm, and that spirit of warmth I think is the spirit of Downers Grove," she said. "I see this becoming a family tradition."

The event features a variety of different activities, including the Ben's Memorial Mile, a memorial walk, the Ben's Costume Mile, a relay race, a kids' half mile and a little kids' 100-meter dash, all accompanied by music, booths, food, raffles and fun. Members of the local cross country and track community will be on hand to celebrate the life of Ben Silver, including former competitors, coaches and legendary North Central College coach Al Carius.

Proceeds of the event will go toward suicide prevention nonprofit Hope for the Day – which has partnered with Ben's Memorial Mile in this year's event – and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

"Last year was a fantastic success, and what was so fantastic was that it brought together people from all over," Silver said. "Cheering each other on, running as teams, children adults – it brought back that incredible feeling of track and how fun it is for the families that were there."

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Registration for the Ben's Memorial Mile is now open and available at bensmemorialmile.com.

June 17, 5 to 9 p.m.

Downers Grove North High School 4436 Main St., Downers Grove

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