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Tillman Hosting 5K Race to Benefit Foundation
January 31, 2014

The Cornerstone Foundation has partnered with Universal Sole to conduct the Charles “Peanut” Tillman 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, March 8 at Lake Shore East Park in Chicago.

All registered participants will receive entry into the race and a post-race party as well as an official Peanut Tillman running shirt. Prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers in 13 different age categories from 14-and-under through 70-and-older.

Registration costs $40 for the 5K run/walk and $20 for a kid’s dash for children 12-and-under. All proceeds will be donated to the Cornerstone Foundation, which the Bears cornerback and his wife Jackie created in 2005 when he was in his third NFL season.

The foundation initially provided children with educational opportunities and resources to excel in the classroom. But after Tillman’s three-month-old daughter, Tiana, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and received a life-saving heart transplant in 2008, the mission was changed to improving the lives of critically and chronically ill children.

Since its inception, the Cornerstone Foundation has impacted over one million children and raised more than $1 million. Its signature programs include “Charles’ Locker,” “Field of Dreams,” “Holiday Celebration,” “TendHER Heart Luncheon” and “The Tiana Fund.”

“You can tell that both Charles and Jackie are so into the foundation and to helping kids,” said Universal Sole race director Rhonda Anderson. “It’s just really heart-warming that he’s reached over a million kids in the Chicago area and helped them out over the years.

“They are so down-to-earth and such good people. They make it real. There are no pretenses about them, and everyone I’ve talked to who has met them, who deals with a lot of celebrities, has said the same thing. They’re not just doing it to show, ‘hey, we’re giving something back.’ Their hearts are really in it.”

Universal Soul is a running store with two locations, at 3052 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, and at 333 East Benton near Lake Shore East Park, where the race is being held. It’s only fitting that Tillman’s No. 33 Bears jersey is part of the store’s address.

Since opening its doors in 1999, Universal Sole has strived to meet the needs of runners, walkers and racers. The store has built a reputation for its knowledgeable staff and its specialized inventory of footwear and hard-to-find sizes. Universal Sole also routinely hosts races and fun runs.

“We’ve partnered with Universal Sole for different events in the past and they’re a huge supporter of the foundation,” said Tillman, who is expected to attend the race along with his wife. “We’re just trying to raise money so we can help out more families.”

The group that signs up the most runners/walkers will win an ultimate “Tillman Tailgate Party,” to be held this summer or fall at Lake Shore East Park for up to 50 people.

Anderson expects the race will draw 1,000-1,500 participants, many of whom no doubt will be fans of the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.

“This is a good venue for people to come out and show their support for Charles and their appreciation for what he’s done for everyone in the community,” she said.