Meet Emily Basara, an Industrial Engineer running the full marathon for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation

by Karen Price

From the time she was a little girl Emily Basara loved children and wanted to take care of them, so much so that she thought she might one day be a pediatrician.

Her career took her in a different direction and Emily, 29, of Glenshaw, is now an industrial engineer at Giant Eagle, but she still loves and wants to care for children. This May, she will run the DICK'S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon while raising money for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation through the Run For a Reason charity program. 

“When I did my undergrad at Pitt I was volunteering at Children’s when they were in Oakland,” she said. “One day a week I’d go play with the kids and it was just heartwarming to help make them smile. I can’t volunteer right now with my time constraints but I wanted to give back in another way so I wanted to run and raise money.”

Emily has another strong connection to Children’s Hospital in that her brother and cousins were all treated there when they were young and she has a nephew who has recently treated there, too.  “I believe the work they do is really amazing, not only for children in our community but for children across the world,” she said. “They do such a good service.”

Emily has always been athletic and ran her first 5K with her father in the fourth grade. She grew serious about running in 2012, joined the Steel City Road Runners and has been active in the running community ever since. So far, she’s run in two half-marathons and two full marathons in Pittsburgh. This May will be her fifth marathon overall, and her first time running for charity. It will also come just weeks after the 30th birthday.

She kicked off her fundraising campaign in August with a simple email to friends, family and coworkers explaining what she was doing and why along with a link to her Crowdrise page.

Within one week, she had exceeded her initial goal of $550. “I was blown away by the response,” she said. “It was so heartfelt. I’m tearing up right now thinking about how amazing it is that people will give to a charity that means so much to me.”

She is currently up to $1,700 raised and going strong. 

Emily’s fundraising ideas now center around sports, another of her life’s passions.

When the NFL season started, she organized a fantasy football league in which half the pot will go to Children’s Hospital. She’s currently raffling off Penguins tickets that were donated by a co-worker. When the Super Bowl comes around, she plans to do a block pool and during March Madness she’ll organize a bracket with half the winnings going to the charity. Finally, she plans on turning her 30th birthday party into a fundraiser by doing a $5 per plate dinner. 

While she didn’t initially think she’d feel comfortable fundraising, Emily said her passion for the cause has shown through in her communication with others and made it easier to ask for money.

“People can see how much it means to me, and also they know it’s a local charity that does great things,” she said. “Anytime someone’s donated, whether buying a raffle ticket or online donation, they’ve had a story they’ve shared about a child who’s been at Children’s or a family member who works there or something along those lines. It’s nice to hear those stories.”

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