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American Red Cross Supports Chicago Marathon

American Red Cross Supports 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon With International Team of Runners and Reunification Services on Race Day

PHOTO OP: Meet Team Red Cross members at a pre-race brunch Saturday, Oct. 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the American Red Cross Greater Chicago headquarters, 2200 W. Harrison Street, Chicago IL 60612

CHICAGO, IL (Oct. 6, 2016) —Eighty members of Team Red Cross from around the world are running to raise $102,000 pledged for Red Cross humanitarian services and programs Oct. 9 at the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is also staffing volunteers to support medical stations and family reunification services in Grant Park on race day.


  • Meet Team Red Cross members at a pre-race brunch 
  • Saturday, Oct. 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 
  • American Red Cross Greater Chicago headquarters, 2200 W. Harrison Street, Chicago IL 60612


“The Red Cross is proud to host an international team athletes at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon who train hard for race day because they know they are running for a great cause to support our mission,” said Celena Roldán, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “Our volunteers will also be around the course to support race officials with reunification services and minor first aid.”    

Volunteers will be stationed at tents around Grant Park to assist marathon officials with family reunification services and medical needs runners or spectators might experience during the event. The program, sponsored by Baxter, has been a key component of the Chicago Marathon’s safety plan since 2008.

The Red Cross provides registration for runners from around the world to participate in the marathon. Team members pledge to raise at least $1,000 in support of the Red Cross and receive a variety of benefits including free CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) training, complimentary post-race massage and access to Charity Village. The team has received $102,000 in pledged support from around the world. 

Janelle Johnson, 25, of Lake Bluff, Illinois is a first-time marathon runner. When her grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year, the Red Cross delivered an emergency message to her cousin, a Marine stationed in Japan, and arranged to bring him home to his family. Johnson wanted to run with the charity team as a way honor her grandmother’s memory.

“Her one, final wish was to have all her family together just one more time and the Red Cross made that wish come true. There are no words I could ever say to express the gratitude I have for the American Red Cross. They gave my family a priceless gift that truly is irreplaceable,” Johnson said. “I am excited and somewhat nervous to push my body both physically and mentally beyond anything I have ever done. I am not doing this for myself, but in hopes to give back to an organization that helped me and my family in our darkest time.”

This year’s race is a family affair for Johnson. Her mother and best friend are running with her while other relatives and friends will be cheering them from sidelines. Johnson said she likes the family reunification service the Red Cross provides on race day to locate runners if they are injured on the course or hospitalized. 

“If anything were to happen, it is nice to know that the support of the Red Cross is there,” she said. 

Team Red Cross brings together runners of all ages, abilities, and nationalities in support of the American Red Cross mission. Team Red Cross prepares runners for success in the Chicago Marathon while providing a rewarding charitable-giving experience. All funds raised by Team Red Cross benefit Red Cross programs and services throughout Chicago and northern Illinois. Since 2007, Team Red Cross runners have together raised more than $750,000 in support of our life-saving mission. Team Red Cross is proud to partner with Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) to provide expert training and guidance for our runners.

Those who missed the registration for this year’s marathon can sign up for next year to run with Team Red Cross. Registration opens Oct. 10 and includes a guaranteed entry to next year’s race. Email for more information.


Patricia Kemp | Communications Manager 

(312) 729-6225 (Office) | (313) 220-3335 (Cell) | 24/7 Media Line: (312) 907-0520 

About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.