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Austin police officer starts race to honor son after tragic death

All proceeds from the race will go toward Cops for Charities.

AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin police officer wants to give back to the community after the tragic death of his four-year-old son last year.

Chance Henderson said neighbors, fellow officers and a charity came through for his family during their darkest hour.

The one-time race, called the Hunter 5K Costume Fun Run, is inclusive so everyone can participate. It will be held on Oct. 26 in South Austin at 7 a.m. All the proceeds will go to Cops for Charities, the group that really stood by the family in their time of need.

But the race also honors Hunter, Chance's four-year-old son who died three days after Christmas.

Hunter was known for his roaring. His family called them tiger roars. 

Chance and Jessica Henderson said their son had always been active.

"He was an athlete even at four-and-a-half; a little athlete, fast," said Chance.

RELATED: Austin Cops for Charities sets up emergency fund for family of Austin PD officer who lost his son

"He walked before he was supposed to, he was just chasing after his sister all the time, trying to keep up," said Jessica.

In Hunter's room, his superhero toys and furniture remain the same as his six-year-old sister, Reese played.

Even though her brother is gone, it's a new normal for the Hendersons.

"It's a daily choice. It's a daily choice, it really is," said the Hendersons. "If you could stay in bed every day, you would. But life would move without you, it would continue without you and when you have another child, that would be very unfair."

On Dec. 26, 2018, an accident sent Hunter to the hospital. A weight fell on him in the family's at-home gym. He died two days later.

"It was an accident that happened in our family garage," said Chance. "It went from zero to 100 pretty quick. He was pretty badly injured."

RELATED: Bone marrow donor found for Pflugerville officer's daughter with rare blood disease

At the funeral service, Chance delivered his son's eulogy. He asked those who attended to roar.

"That was a way to kind of say hello to him and for me, to kind of get a lot of angst out," he said.

Chance will once again ask for roaring at the Hunter 5K Costume Fun Run on Oct. 26.

The Hendersons said when their son died, so many in the community supported them: neighbors, fellow officers and especially Cops for Charities.

"Because they helped us when we couldn't even think straight ... we were never alone," Jessica said.

The Hendersons said they are never alone now as they feel Hunter around all the time.

"He isn't really gone, he's always kind of there with me," Chance said.

For more information on the race or to register, just click here.


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