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Mother Honors Her Son’s Legacy at New York City Race​​ ​​​ ​

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS –JULY 29, 2013-– Nine years ago, Sonia Cunningham’s life changed.
Keith A. Ferguson Keith A. Ferguson

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 recalled she first got angry. But then she got moving.

Within 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.

Sonia Cunningham congratulates one of the participants in the race last year. Sonia Cunningham congratulates one of the participants in the race last year.!

Cunningham turned her tragic loss in to something positive. She calls her work a journey.

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

Some of the funds raised for the endowment come from the Keith A. Ferguson Memorial 5 K Run/Walk in New York City. It is traditionally held near Ferguson’s birthday on August 8.

The event has grown from a few hundred participants the first year in 2004 to now more than 1000 runners and walkers. Participants will experience some of the most breathtaking and spectacular views of the city.

“I still can’t believe my good fortune that the race has now grown legs and taken off. It has a life of its own. It really has,” said Cunningham.

Runners crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. Runners crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Family, friends and coworkers will again gather at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 4 on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m.  Click here to register.

The Keith A. Ferguson Scholarship Endowment for Criminal Justice has awarded 37 students scholarships since it was created.

For more information, call the UTB Office of University Relations at 956-882-4322. To make a gift online, please visit utb.edu/giving.​ 

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