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Sunday 5K Race in North Park to Raise Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness

A girl who was determined to finish a 5K race despite the fact that walking was an immense struggle for her inspired Elorapalooza. Registration for the race will begin at 7:30 a.m. Sunday with a race start time of 9 a.m.

There will be a 5K race to raise awareness for those struggling with leukemia and lymphoma Sunday at the North Park Boat House in honor of 14-year-old Elora Geier, who died in 2006.

The West Penn Allegheny Health System sponsors the annual Elorapalooza race, and proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Elora’s HOPE Foundation

Elora was not a runner, her mother, Leslie Geier, said. Walking was an immense struggle for the teenager, who besides cancer lived with physical and mental injuries sustained in a car accident when she was 22 months old. 

Her life was one dire prediction after another, but "she was a child that never let anyone get her down," said Geier of Allison Park. 

When she was 11-years-old, she announced she would join her father and mother in a 5K race that she heard them talking about. 

"My husband and I just looked at each and said, 'What can we do? We can't say no,'" Geier said. "And she did it. It took her three hours to finish the race. Everyone passed her. The fire trucks followed behind her. She kept walking even though it was so painful for her." 

Elorapalooza is a way to remember that determination, that love of life and willingness to work hard and live life thoroughly, Geier said. 

"It's not just (about) Elora. It's the essence of being the best person we can be," she said, adding that her daughter inspired her to become a nurse. She is an oncology nurse at West Penn Hospital’s Cancer Institute. Her husband, Dan, is a physical therapist with West Penn Allegheny’s Home Care program.  

Registration for the race will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a race start time of 9 a.m. Race participants also may register in advance online at ElorasHope.com. Awards will be presented to the top three male and female overall runners and to runners in various age groups.

After the race, there will be a complimentary picnic lunch for the participants and the awards ceremony.

In the past six years Elora’s HOPE Foundation has raised more than $75,000, with funds supporting the activities of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and two foundation scholarships. A $1,000 scholarship is awarded each year to a North Allegheny High School student who will be attending college and majoring in special education. A $2,000 scholarship is awarded to a graduate student pursuing a graduate degree in special education.

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