Colleen Ritzer's family thanks supporters - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Colleen Ritzer's family thanks supporters

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ANDOVER, Mass. (WHDH) - Thousands of people gathered in Andover Sunday for a 5K run to honor the memory of slain Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer.

"She touched so many people. I don't think she realized the impact she had son many people's lives," said friend and race organizer Nina Caron.

Nearly 4,000 people showed up to the 1st Annual Step Up for Colleen run, which hoped to raise money for a scholarship to be given each year to a student who wants to go into teaching.

Participants included students and teachers from Danvers and Amesbury and from Sanborn Elementary School in Andover that Ritzer attended as a girl.

Her roommates and friends from Assumption College in Worcester, where she earned her teaching degree, also are participating.

The race course, which started near Andover Central Park, was lined with pink ribbons, Colleen's favorite color.

Her family released a video expressing their thanks for those who have offered their "kind words, generous gestures and support." They repeated the message in person at the race.

"I think this whole event is accelerated the healing i know for myself, my family and I'm sure for them. [Colleen's mother] came up to me and she just said, thank you," Caron said.

Ritzer would have turned 25 next week. The math teacher was allegedly murdered by one of her students last October.

People can still donate to the fund by visiting the official website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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