Walk to Remember & 5k

Walk to Remember & 5k Run for Hope

Remember and Honor Loved Ones
​Support Grieving Children and Families

Thank you for joining us for the 10th Anniversary event! Special thanks to all who helped to make this event meaningful for those remembering and celebrating their loved ones and for helping Willow House to raise much-needed funds to continue our invaluable support services for grieving children and families at no cost.

Photo Gallery


General Information

​​Independence Grove Forest Preserve 16400 Buckley Rd, Libertyville, IL 60048 Nearest Parking: Lot B

Help us reach our goal!

Sunday, August 26, 2018
8:00 AM 5k Run
9:30 AM Memorial Walk
10:00 AM Awards & Party
10:30 AM Closing Ceremony

Memory Markers

Memory Markers are available for $35.00 and will be placed at intervals along the 1-mile Walk to Remember, also visible to runners on the 5K course.

Memory Markers may include a photo, quote, and/or special message:


  • Honor a loved one with photos and decorations in their memory
  • Create an inspirational message for a 5K runner or memorial walk participant


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 with any questions or special requests.

Donate & Fundraise

Willow House 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:

Individual Fundraising Incentives*:

  • The top Individual fundraiser will receive a Fitbit Charge 2, $100 Amazon Gift Card (if $1,500+), and mini Memory Marker.
  • The first individual to raise $1,500 will be awarded $100 Amazon Gift Card, and mini Memory Marker.
  • All participants (including virtual participants) that fundraise a minimum of $100 will receive a Walk to Remember mini Memory Marker (sticker/desk weight at packet pick up).

Team Fundraising Incentives*:

  • The team that raises the highest amount receives a private team 10×10 tent with a limited amount of tables and chairs stocked with pre-race snacks and beverages, team signage on the tent as well as recognition at the start of the walk and race.
  • The team that has the largest amount of participants will be awarded a private team tent with a limited amount of tables and chairs stocked with pre-race snacks and beverages, team signage on their tent as well as recognition at the start of the walk and race and each team member will receive a personalized wristbands featuring the team’s name (funds must be in by 8/19/18 12:00:00 AM CST – in order to receive wristbands in time for race day).

*Excludes registration fees. Funds must be in and participants registered by 8/19/18 at 12:00:00 AM CST to be designated winners.

Visit GroupRev

Once there, click the yellow button labeled “Create Your Own Page”
Sign Up or Login

Create a GroupRev account by entering your Name, Email, and a Password. Or, if you’ve created a GroupRev page before, log in to your account.

Customize Your Page

Edit your Title, Description, Goal and URL.
Edit or add to the default page content.
Upload an image to display on your page.

Fundraising Tips

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.

Team Spotlights

Meet Sue Cohn and the Cohn Heads! Sue and her team are remembering Gary, Sue’s late husband who died 15 years ago. Sue and her daughters have been part of the Willow House family since then, and today she’s one of our rockstar volunteers, helping with group sessions, our expressive arts workshop, event planning, and so much more.

What does Sue like best about this event?
​“I like being with and supporting others whose grief is at any stage, or timeframe, and walking alongside them. Seeing the memory markers along the walk is very moving.”

Thinking about joining us? Sue says:
“Do it. You’ll feel love and support, and also be able to say your loved ones name and remember them in a safe environment.”

This 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.  Mary has been a part of the Willow House family since the death of her daughter, Erin and 2017 was her 4th year walking in Erin’s memory. Mary is also fundraising to ensure that Willow House can continue providing other families with support after experiencing the death of a loved one.

"We invite everyone to come walk with our extended family to remember our Angel Erin. This will be the 4th year in which we walk to remember her. Erin passed away suddenly in December 2013 and our journey in life as a family has been forever changed. Willow House has supported families like ours in search of direction after a devastating loss."

Mary is joined by her family to form Team Erin.  Whether you have benefited from Willow House services or not, we hope you will consider making a donation or creating your own fundraising page to support Willow House.


We are always recruiting volunteers for the annual Walk to Remember & 5K Run for Hope! 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 on the community with a sponsorship! ​For more information regarding sponsorships, please click here to contact Willow House Executive Director, Erin Leyden.

Thank You Sponsors & Partners


Michael Maszka & Family