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Running for Life

Though decidedly not a morning person, on Saturday I willingly woke up before the sun rose.  The occasion?  The “Riverside Run,” a race in Pittsburgh, with my sister Justine.  While I enjoy a good run, especially one that involves competing against a sibling, I had an added motivation that morning – the proceeds of the race went to Genesis, a pregnancy care center and adoption agency in Pittsburgh.

From 2003 to 2006, I did sidewalk counseling at an abortion clinic in Pittsburgh, offering alternatives to women.  Genesis was an organization that I referred women to.

They offer free services, including pregnancy testing, and baby equipment, supplies, clothing and furniture.  They provide prenatal and childbirth classes, support during labor and delivery, counseling and emotional support – for as long as desired after birth.  Genesis also provides women with housing during pregnancy.

Additionally, Genesis is an adoption agency.  They work with the birth families and adoptive families throughout the adoption process.  Genesis does not merely help these families fill out paperwork.  They provide support for their physical and emotional needs.

One runner, Lori Delale-O’Connor, was placed with her adoptive family through the Genesis adoption agency as an infant.  Today, she is training for the Chicago marathon.  On Saturday, she competed in the Riverside Run and handed out awards to the top finishers.

Certainly not everyone who raced that morning signed up because it was a benefit for Genesis.  But all of us heard about Lori’s story as we waited at the starting line.  Her presence was a great witness to the tremendous work Genesis does.

After the race, Justine and I discussed the beautiful connections of the day.  Running is itself a celebration of life – when you run, you feel alive.  The Riverside Run enabled us to celebrate our own lives, while helping create more stories like Lori’s by providing financial support for Genesis.  As the t-shirts we received for participating say, “The world is a little better because you are important in the life of a child.”

What a great way to start my Saturday – running with a purpose, running for life.