PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) -- For nearly two decades, a local organization has made it its mission to raise awareness of brain tumors and raise money for treatment and research.
Saturday marked the 19th annual Mark Linder Walk for the Mind at the Peoria Riverplex, in honor of a Peoria man who lost his battle with brain cancer in 2005 at the age of 31.
Before he passed away, Linder established the organization to show others battling brain cancer that they are not alone.
"He felt incredibly alone and he never wanted anyone else receiving that diagnosis to feel alone," said Mark's sister, Stacie Hansen. "The purpose of our organization is to raise awareness so that people, when they receive that diagnosis, know that there is a whole community of folks out here ready to support them."
Throughout the day, participants were encouraged to walk, run or jog in Mark's honor. Plus, the walk was led off by a group of local brain cancer survivors who represent thousands in the area who have been diagnosed.
"I think this is a great thing - to be here, to be invited to this event. A lot of people have been my patients and have gone through this. It is really a testament to the strength of the community," neurosurgeon Dr. Andrew Tsung said.
Hansen said in the 19 years of hosting the Walk for the Mind, the organization has raised nearly $1 million for brain tumor research.