On April 25, 2010, the first Jeremy Kane Memorial Run was held in Cherry Hill on a gray, rainy morning. A group of local residents, friends and supporters joined a group of Rutgers students and the Kane family to walk in honor of Jeremy, who was killed in January 2010 while serving in Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine reservist. The goal was to raise money and one day provide a scholarship in his honor.
Four years later, that dream is about to be realized.
As preparations continue for the fifth annual Jeremy Kane Memorial Run on June 8, enough money has been accumulated from previous years to finally grant a scholarship to a Rutgers-Camden student most resembling the values Jeremy lived by. Since the first benefit run, about $70,000 has been donated toward the scholarship fund.
The last four years have been a long journey for everyone involved. Melinda Kane, Jeremy’s mother and a Cherry Hill councilwoman, is extremely proud of how many people Jeremy’s story has touched over the years.
“Anytime I can say my son’s name and see his picture and keep his name alive, it’s really great,” she said.
Looking back at the first event, Kane said she originally was not going to be actively involved in the event.
The Student Veterans at Rutgers University conceived the event shortly after Jeremy’s death.
As the first annual event got closer, Kane felt a desire to get more involved.
“As time went on, I just felt like I wanted some input into it,” she said. “The first year, they asked me to speak and it just became a way to get involved.”
The first event took place on a very rainy and chilly spring day. However, the conditions did not deter Kane or any of the participants.
“The weather was horrible,” she said. “It was a torrential downpour and it was cold, but it turned into a wonderful event.”
On that rainy day, a beacon of light shined over an event residing close to the hearts of the Kane family, Rutgers students and neighbors from across Cherry Hill and the surrounding area. The next year, participation increased further, and the run became a mainstay in the township.
Since the first year, the event has grown from a short walk and run to a much more vibrant event.
The run itself is now an official 5K beginning and ending in the Cherry Hill East parking lot. The course winds its way down Kresson Road and through the surrounding neighborhoods.
In addition to the run and walk, the event also features activities for families. Kane said the event has become one involving the entire township, not just the surrounding area.
In addition to sponsorship by the township, many of Kane’s fellow council members participate in the event. Camden County is also sponsoring the event for the first time this year.
The event’s growth means a lot to Kane. She said it’s incredible how far the event and scholarship fund have come since 2010.
“It’s growing,” she said. “It’s an event that attracts people who want to walk and people who want to run. People look forward to doing it every year.”
Each year’s event still remains close to Kane’s heart. She continues to speak at the event and tell her son’s story. For her, it never gets old.