Daily American: By Matthew Toth

The parents of a 10-year-old girl plan to run 335 miles to help their daughter raise money for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Moira Hearn, 10, of Leetsdale, has been looking for ways to help raise awareness and money for the hospital foundation’s Free Care Fund through her group, Moira’s Mission.

To help her with that goal, her parents, Michael and Valerie Beichner, will be running on the Great Allegheny Passage and passing through Somerset County.

Valerie Beichner said Hearn has wanted to support the hospital since she was 5.

“Over the course of several years she kept asking about finding a way to raise money to benefit the hospital,” Beichner said.

Beichner said they wanted to participate in this run to show Hearn and their three other children that “if you really dig in deep and you’re determined, you can make a huge impact in your community.”

Beichner and her husband are running from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh, each running about 15 miles of the passage daily since Wednesday.

“Our goal is 30 miles a day between the two of us,” Beichner said.

Beichner added that it was her husband’s idea to run on the trail.

“At first I thought he was insane,” she said.

“We’re runners, but we’ve only been running for two years, and our biggest race was a half-marathon, which is 13 miles.”

The Beichners have been training for several months, even competing in the Pittsburgh Marathon to prepare.

The mission’s first attempt to raise money, shirts of Hearn’s own design, will be the family’s uniform as they continue the trek.

The family hopes residents will make donations by buying a shirt of their own from the Moira’s Mission website, www.givetochildrens.org/moirasmission.

“Moira just really likes to help people,” Beichner said.

“Ever since she’s been in kindergarten she’s been called ‘motherly Moira.’”

Anna Weltz, public relations director at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, describes Hearn as a generous and artistic lady.

“While many children (Moira’s) age are absorbed into text messaging, friends and toys, Moira is on a mission to raise awareness and much-needed money for the Free Care Fund of UPMC,” she said.

Moira’s Mission has raised about $2,596 of its $12,500 goal. Many workers at Children’s Hospital are grateful for Hearn’s efforts.

“We are just thrilled at the continuous drive that children such as Moira have to support our patients and families at Children’s Hospital,” Brian Harman, director of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, said.

“Her donation will impact our patients and families, and we thank her for her generosity.”

Hearn and her family will be continuing their run through next week. They plan to run through Meyersdale, Rockwood and Confluence Wednesday and Thursday.

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