RYAN’S RUN BECOMES PERSONAL FOR MOUNTAIN TOP MAN THIS YEAR

RYAN’S RUN BECOMES PERSONAL FOR MOUNTAIN TOP MAN THIS YEAR

REPOSTED FROM MOUNTAIN PEAKS

When Jim Brogna starts across the Verrazano Bridge on Staten Island at the beginning of the TCS New York City Marathon on November 4, it will mark the third time the Mountain Top man has participated in the world’s largest marathon.

But this year the 26.5-mile race will have an added meaning for him. This year, it is personal.

That’s because this year the 48-year-old Brogna will be running in memory of Paul Harrington and Marion Yudiski Flannelly, two beloved Allied Services Integrated Health System colleagues who passed away over the last year. “Every other year, it’s been for fun and to raise money. It’s personal this year,” he offered.

Brogna will participate in the marathon as a member of WNEP-TV Ryan’s Run team which has raised $2.6 million over the last eight years to help Allied Services provide much needed services to children and adults with disabilities and life-changing injuries. The team is led by WNEP-TV personality Ryan Leckey.

“I’m honored to be the final runner enlisted to participate in the TCS New York City Marathon this November 4 with the WNEP-TV Ryan’s Run team,” said Brogna, Vice President for Corporate Advancement and Communications at Allied Services. A veteran of eight marathons overall, Brogna is sponsored by Highmark and United Concordia Dental. “I’m humbly appreciative of their support as well as for choosing me as their representative runner,” he commented.

Brogna’s fundraiser has just begun with the first $5,000 being dedicated to Allied Services Hospice Center in memory of Harrington. He will also be raising funds in Harrington’s memory for pediatric speech and language therapy to which he dedicated his entire professional life.

His other focus will be to honor Yudiski Flannelly, a longtime registered nurse at Heinz Rehab Hospital who passed away suddenly this past summer. “She was a ray of light whether having an impact in orthopedics or with our brain injury rehab team,” Brogna said.

For Leckey, this year’s New York City Marathon will be his seventh and fourteenth overall. In addition to training for the race, Leckey puts in countless hours promoting and raising money for Allied Services through Ryan’s Race. The WNEP-TV personality says the effort is well worth it. “I love using this media platform for the greater good,”

Leckey commented. “There’s so much ‘bad stuff’ or negative news going on in the world ranging from television to social media. I love using this medium to improve the lives of people across our area.”

Leckey praised the support Ryan’s Run has received from residents and businesses throughout the region. “The folks in northeastern and central Pennsylvania are the most giving, most supportive and most willing to chip in to help each other when the going gets tough,” he offered. “WNEP’s Ryan’s Run is just one avenue to help our neighbors.”

He pointed out that donations to Ryan’s Run go directly to support the care Allied Services provides to its patients. “The best part of this campaign is being able to ‘follow the money’ and show people exactly where their donations are going at Allied to help patients make huge strides in therapy,” he explained.

“One of the coolest parts of this campaign is being out on the street, covering a different story and someone walks up to me and explains how a device our campaign purchased over the years improved the life of their family member or friend. That’s the most motivating part of it all and we couldn’t do that without the amazing support of the people who live in this area,” he added.

Through the efforts of Leckey, WNEP-TV, runners, and supporters, Allied Services has earned Silver Level fund-raising status with the marathon. That level puts Allied Services in the same category with such organizations as UNICEF USA, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and Boston Children’s Hospital.

“It took years of fundraising to get there,” said Brogna. As a result of earning silver status, Allied Services’ Ryan’s Run team will have 50 runners in his year’s marathon. “Those are 50 people who are passionate, not only about running, but about spreading the word and raising funds,” Brogna explained. Among those are Rita Cavazos of Mountain Top and Chris Steiner of Drums.

In addition to Highmark/ United Concordia Dental, corporate sponsors include Mohegan Sun Casino, Jack Williams Tire and Auto Service Centers, Open Access, Motor World, Weis Markets, Northeastern Rehabilitation Services, Lamar Advertising, Baker Tilly Accountants and Advisors, and Allied Services.

The theme for this year’s Ryan’s Run is Inspiring Fitness, Challenging Disability and Changing Lives. Brogna pointed out that we don’t have to look far to find someone whose life was changed by Allied Services.

That person is Mountain Top resident Kristin Hoovler. Hoovler, known to many as “KRock,” was injured in a motorcycle accident on September 29, 2013. She was a passenger on a motorcycle operated by a friend when the motorcycle’s rear tire sustained a blowout. She suffered traumatic brain injury and was in a medical-induced coma for three weeks.

“After the traumatic brain injury that I sustained in a motorcycle accident, Allied Services helped to bring me back to who I am” Hoovler said of the care she received from Allied Services. As she approaches the fifth anniversary of her accident, she noted that her mantra is “Pay if Forward.”

“They taught me how to walk again so I would love to help Mr. Brogna get the word out to support him in the NYC Marathon that’s he’s running for memorial and charitable reasons. It’s the least I could do. He’s gone to hell and back for me.” she added.

This year, Hoovler was a member of the committee that organized Mountain Top on the Move’s annual July 4 parade which turned out to be the largest in its history. The 38-year-old felt she could bring some “fresh blood” to the annual event. An advocate for helmets for bicyclists and motorcyclists, she decided to find an organization to donate helmets to children who participated in the parade on bicycles decorated in a patriotic fashion.

She contacted Allied Services hoping the organization might have some helmets left over from a previous event. “Unfortunately, they were no longer available,” she related. “But Mr. Brogna made it happen,” she reported. “Allied found funds to purchase and donate helmets to the kids of Mountain Top that were given away during the parade.”

“It’s not just the care that Allied provided me with that influences me to want to help when I can,” Hoovler explained. “It’s the fact that Mr. Brogna also finds the way to help if ever asked. It’s an honor to know Mr. Brogna and to know that nothing could stop him from helping those who need it … not even a marathon,” she offered.

To make a pledge to support WNEP’s Ryan’s Run 2018, send a check payable to Allied Services Foundation, c/o Jim Brogna Ryan’s Run, 100 Abington Executive Park, Clarks Summit, PA 18411. You can pledge on line at the Ryan's Run Page. Pledge cards also are available from Hoovler. She can be contacted at kristinhoovler@ gmail.com.

Jim BrognaRyan Leckey