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Walk/Run Against Violence Sets Record Number of Racers

Last year’s numbers were high, with more than 500 crowding the starting line, but this year, the Walk/Run Against Violence broke the bank with more than 700 participants.
Event organizer Celia Carroll shared the news Monday after the final numbers were tallied and said the race had become so popular that they actually had to "turn people away" this year.
"We ran out of numbers," she said. "Can you believe that?"
The Walk/Run started about a decade ago, after Celia and her husband James Carroll lost their son, Jason, to gun violence. People often deal with death in different ways, and for the Carrolls that way was bringing the community together to stamp out gun violence, which Celia said her son had begun to do before he died. (See story’s end for a video link containing an interview with Celia Carroll and footage from Sunday’s race.)
Celia began a local chapter of Mothers Against Guns and worked with her husband to establish the Jason Carroll Memorial Fund, which offers scholarships to high school seniors planning to attend UVI. Proceeds from the annual Walk/Run are usually just enough to cover the tuition for one year, and so far, the organization has supplied — according to the final numbers — close to $30,000 to youngsters who Celia said have gone on to finish college and get the kind of education her son was never able to.
"The memory of my son is strong and will never fade," she said recently. "However, a memory is what it is — just a memory. My son is gone. But I have taken on this campaign in the war against gun violence because no parent should have to go through what my family endured. Parents should not have to bury their children."
For the past couple years, the event has also fallen on what Gov. John deJongh Jr. has declared as "Crime and Gun Violence Prevention Day" in an effort to "raise the consciousness of the community to reduce crime and stop violence."
"For the past 10 years, the Carroll family and others motivated in the aftermath of their son’s tragic death have cause this event to grow and grow," deJongh said in a statement Tuesday. "On Sunday, we saw students, teacher and families participating in both the run and the rally that followed, during which speakers called on the community to work together to help bring an end to gun violence in the Virgin Islands."

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