Run for a Reason: Kiera's Story

by Erin Carlin
After competing on the track and field team and cross country teams at Robert Morris University—and breaking several school records during her time there—Kiera was in search of a new running challenge post-graduation. She had previously supported friends as they ran in the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, and in 2017, she knew it was her turn to take a tour of the Steel City by foot and experience the race weekend atmosphere as a participant. 

Running a marathon had always been on her bucket list, but Kiera didn’t want her first ever marathon to be just about her. She decided to run for a reason, registering as a Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania (PFWPA) charity runner to honor family members affected by Parkinson’s disease (PD)

“The disease has had a direct and significant impact on my life. My granddad suffered from PD before passing in 2013, and my uncle is currently battling the disease,” Kiera shared. “I’ve seen firsthand how the disease changes not only the person living with it but also his or her family and friends.”

Kiera was inspired to connect her passion for running with a greater purpose—raising awareness of both the disease and an organization that supports the local PD community. She appreciates that PFWPA not only supports research efforts to find a cure but also offers patient services such as support groups that can improve the quality of life for those living with PD.

Knowing she was running and fundraising for such an amazing cause helped to make those tough miles just a little easier. Whether battling the Pittsburgh elements and freezing temperatures when training outside or overcoming a knee injury, Kiera was motivated to overcome all of these obstacles because she knew her miles would count for more. 

Plus, she received extra motivation from PFWPA and her fellow charity runners. The Foundation regularly checked in with Kiera and provided the necessary tools to reach her fundraising goal. She also had an opportunity to share fundraising ideas with her fellow charity runners during a happy hour organized by PFWPA. 

Thanks to Kiera’s dedication and ongoing support from PFWPA, she crossed the finish line of the 2018 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and surpassed her fundraising goal. She was part of a team of 37 charity runners, who together, replaced anxiety with hope and raised a total of $21,296 to benefit PFWPA and those it serves. These funds have helped PFWPA to support 23 local monthly support groups, as well as develop and deliver cool programs like yoga, boxing and caregiver stress relief. 

Kiera hopes to encourage others to challenge themselves, and most importantly, run for a reason. If you’re inspired to fundraise for a meaningful cause close to your heart and make a difference like Kiera, register as a charity runner or make a donation to a charity runner today!

To support the Parkinson’s Foundation of Western Pennsylvania team of charity runners, visit For more information about the Run for a Reason Charity Program presented by Bank of America, visit

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