By Olivia Kappler | Photograph from Susan Banaszak-Catena

Motivation comes from all sorts of places. In Susan Banaszak-Catena’s case, it comes from her son. Susan’s 11-year-old son, Jack, has autism and is an avid baseball player. The Miracle League of the South Hills is an organization that allows for children and adults with disabilities to play baseball. When Jack first started playing soccer but realized it wasn’t for him. He moved on to playing baseball for a community team, where he was hit by a ball and was terrified to play again. The following fall, he joined the Miracle League of the South Hills and has been playing there ever since.

“The Miracle League has provided my son confidence and the opportunity to be a part of the team,” Susan says. As much as Jack loves baseball, it was hard to acclimate himself to the quickness of the game. But the caring staff at The Miracle League of the South Hills gives Jack the opportunity to feel more at ease and have more fun while playing the game.

To return the support the nonprofit has given her family, Susan joined the Run for a Reason Charity Program to run the 2017 UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 7 for The Miracle League of the South Hills. “I run for my little boy,” says Susan, and she will keep doing so because of the incredible experiences she and Jack have had with the organization. She is very grateful for the environment that they have provided for children with autism, like Jack, and other physical and mental disabilities.

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