5K honors late O'Hara resident

If You Go What: Brian Demchak Hope Run.When: 8:30 a.m. May 21.Where: UPMC St. Margaret Hospital, Delafield and Freeport Roads.Cost: $30 prior to May 14; $35 on race day.New: “Plant the Seed of Hope Honor/Memorial Garden,” where participants can purchase...

5K honors late O'Hara resident

If You Go

What: Brian Demchak Hope Run.

When: 8:30 a.m. May 21.

Where: UPMC St. Margaret Hospital, Delafield and Freeport Roads.

Cost: $30 prior to May 14; $35 on race day.

New: “Plant the Seed of Hope Honor/Memorial Garden,” where participants can purchase pink, yellow and purple plastic flower spinners to memorialize a loved one.

Race details: Top individual and team finishers will be awarded prizes. Top age group finishers will receive certificates. All registered runners and walkers will be eligible for prizes in a post-race drawing. The race after party includes the “Taste of Fox Chapel,” where restaurants will give samples during a food competition. Music will be performed by Alias Morris, and there will be free children's activities.

Register: stmargaretfoundation.org.

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Updated 48 minutes ago

Brian Demchak was born with limitations, but that didn't stop the O'Hara resident from making great achievements in life.

Mentally challenged from birth, Demchak didn't learn to walk until he was three. With that victory, Demchak never looked back, said his mother, Tina, a Powers Run Road resident.

“Most people in his condition couldn't run a mile,” she said. “I was a marathon runner and he came with me. He was determined. He started passing me up.”

Together, they ran the Pittsburgh Marathon five times and participated in the St. Margaret Foundation 5K for more than a dozen years.

Demchak died in 2016 at age 57, but his spirit will live on: the St. Margaret Foundation 5K has been renamed the Brian Demchak Hope Run, thanks to a donation from a family member who asked not to be named.

The donation will help “to fill in the financial assistance gaps with hope,” Foundation President Mary Lee Gannon said.

The race in May is a three-mile course that begins on the UPMC St. Margaret campus, winds through Aspinwall and ends with food and music back at the Freeport Road hospital. It has raised more than $75,000 in each of the last seven years for the foundation bed fund, Gannon said. The money is used to provide needy people with medication, medical equipment and transportation to doctor visits.

In 2016, the fund provided $20,484 in assistance to 110 patients.

“We are honored to name this race in Brian's memory,” Gannon said. “Brian was dedicated to health and fitness, a regular at our race and a member of our hospital family.”

Last year, Tina Demchak, 80, ran the 5K in Brian's memory, accompanied by his boxer/chow mix dog, Cosmo. She has also volunteered for the foundation with the Free Rides for Seniors Program.

Brian always looked forward to the St. Margaret Foundation 5K because, for him, it was a chance to shine, Tina said.

“He loved it because they have a challenged division and he would be standing there waiting for his prize of an embossed mug that they give out,” she said. “He was so proud and he felt like he knew everyone.

“I'm very proud of what Brian accomplished with what he had to work with. I want it to give others hope.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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