When Teel Tishgart signed up to help with the Berry Family 5K race in Plano on Saturday, she had no idea that she would be the one eventually organizing the inaugural event. But it was the least she could do, she figured.
On July 2, 2011, the Berry family was returning home from vacation in Colorado when they were struck head-on by a car that had merged into their lane. The parents, who were sitting in the front, were killed instantly, while the three children in the back suffered serious injuries. The two older boys were left paralyzed from the waist down while their youngest sister suffered multiple broken bones.
Supporters across the nation came out in droves to help the children through these hard times. Teel, along with Kyle Stevens - the founder of the Berry Family 5K - teamed together to create the Berry Family 5K.
Tishgart and Stevens had a goal of attracting 1,000 runners, even though some of their event helpers told them that they'd be lucky to have 500.
"We worked with Run On as our timing system and they said typically races of this type get 200 to 300 runners," said Tishgart. "If we were lucky, we could get 500. Well, we always had a goal of 1,000 but knew it was a pipe dream."
Through her hard work and dedication, and that of many others, Tishgart turned that "pipe dream" into a reality.
Over 1,000 runners showed up for the Berry Family 5K at Granite Park in Plano. The event raised $34,000 after race-day expenses, and organizers are already in the process of planning the event for next year.
While nothing can replace what the children have lost, the money will help in their long recovery.