Leetsdale girl on mission to help ill children
Quiet moments are few and far between in the Beichner home, but one point that is discussed around the dinner table is how fortunate their family is to have their health, clothing and a meal.
For Moira Hearn, 9, these discussions have inspired her to start “Moira's Mission” — a fundraiser to benefit the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC's Free Care Fund.
The Edgeworth Elementary School fourth-grader has been dedicated to helping others since she was in kindergarten, her mother, Valerie Beichner, said.
“Quaker Valley really does a great job introducing charitable giving and helping others from the time the kids start school,” she said. “In each grade, they've done some sort of fundraiser or volunteer work. She had asked us for years if she could do something to help Children's Hospital, so last year we really decided to get the ball rolling.”
Valerie said she and her husband, Chris Beichner, Moira's step-father, last year decided they would train for a 335-mile run on the Greater Allegheny Passage beginning June 22 in the District of Columbia and ending July 4 at Point State Park. The couple plans to complete the run this summer.
“The run symbolizes the journey that families often take when caring for a sick or injured child. We hope it brings attention to Moira's Mission,” Valerie Beichner said.
Along their journey, the couple plans to wear T-shirts with artwork Moira designed.
The shirts also are available for purchase with funds going to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, which supports the Free Care Fund.
Brian Harman, director of corporate and community giving for the foundation, said Moira's generosity is an important piece of the foundation thriving.
“We are just thrilled at the continuous drive that children such as Moira have to support our patients and families at Children's Hospital,” Harman said. “Her donation will impact our patients and families, and we thank her for her generosity to give back to our hospital.”
With a large family supporting her efforts — she is the oldest of seven siblings and step-siblings — Moira said her favorite class is art.
“She has always leaned more toward her artistic side,” Valerie said. “She would mix different colors of nail polishes together when she was little or write her own songs and stories. Her creativity awakened me.”
Valerie and Chris Beichner, each with backgrounds in the non-profit sector, encourage their children to help others.
“We try to make sure they know not to take anything for granted because they have a lot more than some children,” Valerie said.
As for Moira, she said she doesn't see her love of helping others dwindling.
“I'm pretty sure I'll be doing fundraisers as I get older,” Moira said.
And the best part of carrying out Moira's Mission?
“Knowing that I'm helping others by doing what I like to do,” she said. “You should do something that you like to do that's helping whatever you want to help and know that you're doing a great thing.”
That message resonates with her mother.
“She's always been a giving child. If there was only one of something left, she would give it to the other child and go without,” Valerie said of Moira. “Every day she does something to help someone.”
Christina Sheleheda is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.