Franklin Regional Alumni Run to UPMC With Special Thanks


By Martin Kinnunen

For Emily Vargo and several other alumni from Franklin Regional, it was a great day for a run and a tremendous opportunity to carry a special thank-you to the front door of UPMC Presbyterian.

On Sunday, Vargo and a nearly a dozen other runners ran from Murrysville to Oakland and presented the hospital with a Franklin Regional Flag of Hope signed by students, educators and residents. The flag was a gift from the runners and the greater Franklin Regional community to show their appreciation for the care UPMC Presbyterian provided to Jared Boger, a junior who was among the most severely wounded in the April 9 knife attack at the Westmoreland County school.

“Home is where the heart is,” said Vargo, who graduated from Franklin Regional in 2000 and is now a pharmacist in Clearwater Beach, Fla. “I came back for this run to show my support for my home community and to do something positive by saying thanks to the medical professionals who helped.”

The runners presented their flag, which was made by Vargo’s mother, Patti Vargo of Murrysville, to Louis Alarcon, M.D., medical director, Trauma Surgery, and Dee Nicholas, manager of the Trauma Program.

Dr. Alarcon said Sunday brought back memories from April 9. “Although we train to treat injured people, and we do it daily, this event particularly affected the staff at UPMC on a more personal level,” he said.

“On April 9, I went home after work and hugged my daughter a little tighter and a little longer that evening. This flag will mean a lot to all the staff involved in the care of our Franklin Regional student,” Dr. Alarcon added.

Sunday’s run was organized by Darren Miller of Delmont, a 2001 Franklin Regional graduate and a world-class endurance athlete. The run was called Project 22, which was roughly the number of miles covered by the group and “a tribute to the total number of those injured on April 9,” Miller said.

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