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Photo Gallery from Ferguson Run in NYC

Mother Honors Son’s Legacy at New York City Race

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS –AUGUST 1, 2012 – Eight years ago, Sonia Cunningham’s life changed.

Her son Keith, a New York City police officer, suffered a heart attack while responding to a fellow officer’s call for assistance. He was 38.

Cunningham, an Associate Professor of Nursing at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, recalled she first got angry, but then she got moving.

Sonia CunninghamWithin days of her son’s funeral, an event that drew 10,000 mourners to a church in Manhattan, Cunningham had launched the Keith A. Ferguson Scholarship Endowment for Criminal Justice in honor of her beloved oldest child.

At UTB, 22 students have been awarded scholarships. Some of the funds that benefit the endowment come from the Sgt. Keith A. Ferguson Memorial Run/Walk. 

“I did not know that this scholarship, which will help pay my classes, was set up to honor Mr. Ferguson,” said senior Criminal Justice Police Administration major Maritza Paola Vidaurri, 20, of Brownsville. “This makes me feel very proud. I hope to honor his memory by finishing college.”

Since 2005, family, friends and coworkers have gathered at the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City for the 5K run/walk. The event has grown from a few hundred participants the first year to now more than 900 runners and walkers.

It is traditionally held several days before Ferguson’s birthday on Aug. 8. This year, the race will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 5.

“With the exception of my son’s absence, it is the best thing that ever happened to me,” Cunningham said. “It teaches you to do things differently, not necessarily better. I am not going to say it’s a better life now, but it’s a different life in a positive way.” 

The race will begin and end at City Hall Park. Participants will cross the Brooklyn Bridge to the borough where Ferguson was born. It is the only race that crosses the Brooklyn Bridge.

To register and for more information, go to keithsrace.org.

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