Walk to Remember & 5K 2022

We invite you and your family to join us on the morning of September 11th, 2022 for the 14th Annual Willow House Walk & 5k Run to Remember at the beautiful picturesque Independence Grove in Libertyville, Illinois.
Walk or Run in memory of a loved one.  Create a team and make a special day of it.
This event was designed to allow family members to dedicate a morning to memorialize their loved one(s), share stories, and meet others that truly understand the emotions and challenges that one may face after the death of a loved one.


Sunday, September 11, 2022
7:30 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. 5k Run (USATF Certified Course)
9:30 am Memorial Walk
10:30 am Closing Ceremony

Help us reach our goal!

Independence Grove 
16400 Buckley Road

Libertyville, IL 60048

Nearest Parking: Lot B

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Help us meet our goals:

1. Bring together family and friends to memorialize their loved one(s), share stories, and meet others that truly understand the emotions and challenges that one may face after the death of a loved one.

2. Raise much needed funds to support the mission of Willow House which includes FREE peer group support, a unique Expressive Arts Program, Peer Group Support for children, teens and families that have lost a loved one to suicide; and its School Grief Support Programs.

3. Raise awareness on  the importance of grief support and how Willow House provides free group supportive services for children, teens, families, communities, and schools that are coping with grief and the death of a loved one.


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Memory Markers are a unique way to honor and pay tribute to your loved one. For only $35.00 your custom Memory Marker will be placed along the 1-mile Walk to Remember, also visible to runners on the 5K course.

Memory Markers may include a photo, quote, and/or a special message. Honor your loved one with photos and decorations in their memory or create an inspirational message for a 5K runner or memorial walk participant.

You can create and decorate your own by picking up a blank marker. Or, order a custom marker by uploading a message and photo, and we will create one for you.

Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions or special request.


Willow House is the only independent organization in Illinois that provides support services to children, teens and families who are grieving the death of a loved one. For 20 years, Willow House has been the go-to program in the greater Chicago area, called upon to help young grieving families, school communities and others in crisis as they cope with death. All of our services are provided at no charge.

This annual event is one way we unite as a community to honor the memory of loved ones who have died, while raising essential funds to keep our programs going. This year, with an increased demand for our services, we hope to raise more dollars than ever before. We need your help to make this happen.


While fundraising for Willow House may be reason enough,
we have thrown in a few incentives for individuals and teams:

The top individual fundraiser and top team fundraiser will be honored at the event.

*Excludes registration fees. Funds must be in and participants registered by 9/6/22 at 12:00:00 AM CST to be designated winners.

1. Visit the Willow House 5k GiveSmart page

2. Click the yellow button labeled “START FUNDRAISING”

3. Fill out Account Information including name, email, and phone number.

4. Add your Page Name and Goal.

5. Once your page is live, click the gray button labeled “EDIT FUNDRAISING PAGE”.

6. On the left-hand side of the page, you can access your shareable link. Copy this link and share it with friends who want to support your fundraising efforts!

You can also edit the page title, goal, add images, and add your story. Click the green Edit Content to add your story, team member names, and more.

NOTE: If you’d like to fundraise as a team, you will setup your page the exact same way as individual fundraisers using the steps above. One member of your team will be the owner of your fundraising page. The page owner should share the fundraising link with each team member. Questions? Reach out to Kate Himes at [email protected].


Social media has made it easier than ever before to share with friends and family that you are participating in the Walk to Remember and 5K Run for Hope benefiting Willow House.

Utilize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn to recruit team members, to share your personal story on how Willow House has helped you and your family and to fundraise. Simply post a direct link to your personal fundraising page, ask your friends for support, provide updates on your fundraising progress and thank your contributors!

Spend an afternoon sending texts or emails to friends and family that includes a link to your personal and/or team page telling them why their support is so important to you, your family, and Willow House.
Get your employer involved!
  • Request a casual day where fellow employees can donate $5 to wear jeans on a Friday.
  • Organize a potluck where colleagues bring in dishes and coworkers donate $10 for lunch.
  • Ask your company to sponsor each employee who participates for $25.
  • Many companies offer corporate giving programs that match the funds you donate. Ask your HR department for more details.
A third party event is an individual fundraiser that you or your team organizes where the proceeds of the event go to your 5K team page. Get creative and have fun! Some ideas include:
  • Sports tournament or favorite game of your loved one to play
  • Trivia night
  • Karaoke night
  • Chili cook-off
  • Happy hour, wine and cheese party

Facebook makes it easy to create a birthday fundraiser with just a few clicks! One or two weeks before your birthday, or your loved one’s birthday, is an optimal time to launch your fundraiser. We can provide sample messaging for you to customize your event and help encourage friends to give in your honor.

Not on Facebook? No problem – you can organize a birthday fundraiser via email (by sharing your fundraising page link) or you can host an event in real life. Your party can be as unique as you – from hosting an ice cream social to a knitting party to a group bike ride.


We are always recruiting volunteers for the annual Walk & 5k Run to Remember! Volunteers are needed at the start area, along the scenic course, and at the finish line. Both individuals and groups (teams, schools, clubs, community or religious groups, etc) are welcome. All volunteers receive a t-shirt and get to enjoy the post-race party with free food!

Click here to contact us if you are interested in volunteering. Bring a friend!


Make an even greater impact in our community by becoming an event sponsor. For more information, click below to contact Willow House Development Director, Denise O’Handley.


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