Friday, August 12, 2016
When her five-year-old daughter first approached her about selling t-shirts to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Valerie Beichner M’15 thought the plan was sweet and cute. Soon she realized Moira was passionate about the idea. In school and at home, Moira was taught the importance of giving back, so when the girl found out that sick kids go to Children’s Hospital, she made it her mission to help them.
Beichner, who earned a master's in organizational leadership from RMU, is the president and CEO of Elan Evolutions, a nonprofit management consulting business. She and her husband, Chris, the CEO of Allegheny Land Trust, decided to use their experience in fundraising to help Moira reach her goal. The couple approached Children’s Hospital in 2015 and launched the community fundraising effort Moira’s Mission in March. They decided to wear Moira’s t-shirt designs on a run through the Great Allegheny Passage from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh.
During their 11-day trek in June, the couple took turns running 15 miles at a time while the other explored the trail and the surrounding area with Moira, now nine, and their other three children. The whole family got together for one-mile runs at night. The Beichners only started running two years ago, and one of the biggest challenges was traversing the trails instead of the sidewalks they were used to. “I usually run with music," Beichner says, "but didn’t along the trails because you really want to hear the birds, the creatures, and the rushing water around you."
By the end of their run, the family raised over $3,500 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Moira led us to this project even though it was bigger than she imagined," Beichner says. "She asked us to help her make a difference, and we wanted to help her make as much of an impact as possible."
-- by Megan DeArmit