April 21 marks the date of the 8th annual Taking Steps to End Child Abuse 5k Color Run/Walk in Normal, Illinois. Last year, nearly 109 runners and walkers came out to celebrate the lives of Duncan and Jack Leichtenberg and to raise funds for the Children’s Home & Aid Central Region Family Visitation Center in McLean County. The Family Visitation Center provides a safe, child-friendly site for supervised visitation and exchanges for families experiencing domestic violence, high-conflict divorce, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The Taking Steps to End Child Abuse 5k Color Run/Walk is dedicated to young Jack and Duncan Leichtenberg, whose lives ended tragically and too soon. All proceeds, including 100% of the registration fee, go directly to the Children’s Home & Aid Family Visitation Center in Jack and Duncan’s memory, to help keep children and families safe.

Duncan and Jack, ages nine and seven, were victims of child abuse and a faulty system that ultimately cost them their lives. The boys were having supervised visits with their father in a safe and secured environment of the Family Visitation Center. However, supervision of the visits ended after the judge on the case decided the father’s visits no longer needed to be supervised. This decision was based on a psychiatrist’s report stating the father was not a threat to himself or his children. In March of 2009 the boys went missing after being picked up for a visit by their father. Three weeks later their bodies were found, along with their father’s. He had taken the boys’ lives and then his own.

The boys’ mother, Amy, has held this race every year since 2011, in memory of Duncan and Jack Leichtenberg and in celebration of their lives. To date, the race has raised more than $62,713 in support of Children’s Home & Aid. We invite you to join us and take steps to end child abuse. Challenge your family, friends and co-workers to a 5K run or 1 mile walk at Fairview Park in Normal, Illinois. Bring the whole family — strollers and dogs are welcome, too!