The Deutscher Family Memorial Run4Change will take place on Saturday at the Sertoma Club Community Center and Park Trails in Bismarck. The event, held in honor of the Deutscher family who were killed in a drunken driving accident in 2012, aims to raise money and awareness to address the consequences associated with drinking and driving.
“It’s a family friendly event; we want people to come to the run and talk about this issue,” relative and event organizer Tom Deutscher said. “This is put together because this family suffered a tragedy.”
According to information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, North Dakota saw a rise in overall DUI numbers in 2018. The Run4Change is looking to help change that by raising awareness and supporting campaigns to stop drunken driving.
Proceeds from the run are returned to the community through grants for training, education and outreach to address the consequences associated with drinking and driving. In the past six years, more than $80,000 has been raised.
These funds have been used to start the "Never Drink and Drive" campaign in southwest North Dakota, provide server training throughout the state and to fund post prom and post graduation parties.
“Anything to keep them off the streets,” Deutscher said.
Aaron and Allison Deutscher, both of West Fargo, and their 1-year-old daughter, Brielle, died July 6, 2012, in a crash caused by a drunken driver on Interstate 94. Allison Deutscher was pregnant at the time.
The Deutscher family car has been converted into a display, and these funds are used to help with travel expenses and upkeep as the display is shown at schools, businesses and public events. The car has been shown in four states to thousands of people.
In its seventh year, the Run4Change is attended by many people year after year.
“They have turned it into something so great; people who participate in it do so every year because they’re such great people,” participant Erica Johnson said. “They organize it really well and they really get their message across. It’s a great way to remember what not to do.”
The event also receives a lot of support from across the country.
“Eighty percent of (participants) are new every year. People come from Iowa, Arizona, Minnesota, not just local people,” organizer Arlene Deutscher said. “They’re hearing about it somehow, and that’s what pushes us to keep going.”
This year’s run will include a speech from North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem on the dangers and statistics of drunken driving in North Dakota, followed by 10K and 5K run/walks. These will be followed by a 1K bubble run, which will include an Easter egg hunt.
“People like it as a good family event,” Arlene Deutscher said. “You don’t have to be an athlete to participate. You can walk the 1K if you want, you can ride your bike, you don’t have to be a runner. We’ve had people 2 weeks old all the way up to 84 years old participate.”
For more information on the Run4Change, visit www.ndrun.org.