Joslyne Cook had been bothered most of her life by exercise-induced asthma, but when she moved to her first apartment in Oakland near Schenley Park in 2014, she knew she had to take advantage of the beauty and tranquility in her backyard.
Asthma or not, she was going to run the trails.
At first, she ran no more than a mile and a half. After about a year, however, she realized that not only had she become excited about running, but she was also using her inhaler less and less.
“I started to lose weight and feel better about myself and my physical appearance, and it gave me more confidence,” she said.
Cook, 25, then moved to Allison Park and found herself with a whole new park to explore. North Park has given her even more opportunities to get outside and go for a run in nature, and because of her love of the parks and the impact they’ve had on her health and wellness, she is raising money for the Allegheny County Parks Foundation through the Pittsburgh Marathon’s Run for a Reason charity program. The money raised will help go toward work on the North Park Lake Trail.
Cook had never even run a 5K when a friend convinced her to run a half-marathon in Hershey, Pa., in August of 2015.
“I only did it because there was chocolate involved,” she joked.
Then last May, she ran the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon. This year will be her third half-marathon, and for the second year in a row she’s using a very unique method to raise money: holding an adult Easter egg hunt.
Cook works for Thrivent Financial, a Christian-based financial services organization that gives employees a $250 grant to promote a fundraiser, do a service project in the community or engage in another activity in line with the idea of living generously.
Cook used hers to hold the egg hunt in North Park. She solicited local businesses for donations to fill Easter baskets, then filled 700 eggs with raffle tickets. She then sold 70 tickets to participants to join in the hunt. The more raffle tickets they found, the better the chance of winning. She created a Facebook page for the event and also made flyers that she passed out to local businesses. The 70 tickets sold out quickly, she said, thanks in part to Allegheny County Parks promoting the hunt on their Facebook page.
She raised $1,200 from selling tickets, and another $100 from the 50-50 raffle they held the day of the Easter egg hunt. The county matched the donations, so it doubled the impact, she said.
She had everyone from 21-year-olds to a 75-year-old man participate.
This year the hunt will be held at the skating rink at North Park at 6 p.m. on April 21, and she has a total of 115 tickets to sell. Appetizers and a drink ticket are included.
“It was so great last year that I thought maybe I could do it annually,” she said. “I know the parks are constantly going to need some sort of support. I use North Park all the time, so why not take advantage of the chance to give back?”
Here is a link to the event’s Facebook page:
Here is the Eventbrite page where you can buy tickets:
And here is Cook’s Crowdrise page:
For more information about the Pittsburgh Marathon’s Run for a Reason charity program, visit here: