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by Ian Bush

MALVERN, Pa. (CBS) — Out of tragedy comes opportunity.  That’s the story in Malvern (Chester County), a community stunned by the loss on Thanksgiving 1999 of a young woman whose life was cut short by a drunk driver.

Eighteen-year-old Elizabeth Ciunci was on her way home from center city Philadelphia when a man going the wrong way on the Schuylkill Expressway plowed into her car.

Three of her friends survived the crash.  So did the drunk.  Ciunci was killed.

Amid their grief, family and friends came up with a way to continue her legacy: they’d sponsor a scholarship each year at Great Valley High School for a graduating senior who intended to study early childhood education in college.

“The vehicle to fund that scholarship would be an annual 5K ‘Butterfly Run’ and one-mile ‘fun run’ at her high school alma mater,” explains Bim McGeehan.  “To date, nearly $40,000 has been awarded to Great Valley graduating seniors,” he adds.

This year’s event is on Saturday, April 7th, at 9am, at GVHS.

“What started out as a small neighborhood and family event in Elizabeth’s memory has grown into the premier Easter weekend running event in the Delaware Valley,” McGeehan says.  “It now attracts nearly 1,000 participants from throughout the whole tri-state area.”

Pre-registration for the run costs $20.  There are cash prizes for the top finishers.  Go to lbrun.org for more details.

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