Mother lives on through honorary fundraiser

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After losing their loved one, a family organized a golf outing and donated the proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Gretchen Kruse was 30-years-old when she passed away in 2012, leaving two young children, a husband, and countless other relatives behind. Her family, wanting to keep her memory alive, organized a fundraiser that would give back to the community in her honor.

In June, after much planning and support from family and committees, the Gretchen Kruse Golf Outing was held at the Byron Hills golf course. Over 140 golfers attended. Gretchen’s family was able to raise $6,000 from the event.

Gretchen’s cousin, Shaun Hessler, said her mom, dad, and two brothers made the choice to donate the money to Make-A-Wish Illinois. Hessler said $5,000 will go to the foundation and the last $1,000 will help plan next year’s Gretchen Kruse Golf Outing.

“We got the first year out of the way and we plan to do it every year after this and keep bringing it up,” he said.

Hessler said he thinks his cousin would appreciate what they’re doing. He described her as a tough girl with a big heart.

“She would be honored. I’m sure she’s smiling up there,” he said. “I’m positive of it.”