PLAINVILLE, CT (WFSB) - Next week will mark fourteen years since the horrific killings during a home invasion in Cheshire.

The Petit family lost three loved ones, but on Sunday, their legacy lives on through several fundraising events, like the annual Petit Family Foundation 5K.

The race is back and so is the excitement.

"It makes me feel great and exciting," participant Jonathan Norton tells us.

About 500 runners and walkers finally met up at the foundation's annual 5K after COVID cancelled last year's event.

"Races are exhilarating and that's it. I come to the course, I find a parking space, and then I am all jittery until the race starts, so it's a wonderful thing," participant Marguerite Rose stated.

Marguerite says she hasn't missed one of these races.

On top of her love for running, it's the cause that drives her here.

"They are a wonderful family and all of their children and my children were friendly with them so it's heartfelt," Rose explained.

A family was ripped apart in 2007 when Jennifer Hawke and Hayley and Michaela Petit were killed in a home invasion.

Nearly fourteen years later, their legacy of kindness and desire to help lives on.

Dr. William Petit, Jr., a survivor of the invasion and president of the foundation, adds it's all about hope and keeping their memories alive.

"People like hope. If we don't have hope, we have very little, so having hope and kindness in a difficult situation is critical, and I thought that's what Jennifer, Hayley, and Micheala stood for was hope and kindness," Dr. Petit, Jr. said.

Petit says thousands of dollars were raised Sunday, which will go towards grants given to woman in the sciences, programs to improve those affected by chronic illnesses, and efforts to help those affected by violence, causes that Petit says his family would have loved.

"I try to remember the good times, the times we had at home, whether just working in the garden at home, reading books, sharing a meal together, going on vacation, so you try to remember the good times," Dr. Petit, Jr. added.

And if you couldn't make it out Sunday, but want to help, you can head here to learn more about donating to the Petit Family Foundation.


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