In November, those two passions intersected when the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, dealership sponsored Oelschlager’s entry in the New York City Marathon. Their shared objective: to help raise funds for Allied Services. The nonprofit health system serves children and adults with disabilities, life-changing injuries and chronic illnesses throughout northeastern and central Pennsylvania.
“I’ve competed in all kinds of races over the past eight years, including the Marine Corps Marathon in 2015 and one 50K ultramarathon,” says Oelschlager. “But this was my first time in the New York Marathon. It was an opportunity I could not refuse. There were over 50,000 runners and something like 2.5 million spectators. It was unbelievable!”
Though his training was curtailed by a sore knee and his pace was slowed by leg cramps, Oelschlager still finished. He was driven by the desire to help those in need, including his two sisters — Morgan Risch and MaKenna Eberhardt — who both have Erb’s palsy. The genetic disease can cause paralysis in the upper arm. Both have benefited greatly from physical therapy provided by Allied Services.
Their brother’s efforts generated more than $2,500 in individual donations. MotorWorld Toyota went above and beyond, not only underwriting Oelschlager’s travel expenses but contributing $20,000 to Allied Services. The dealership also served as a corporate sponsor of Ryan’s Run, a campaign spearheaded by a local newscaster that generated more than $600,000 for the charity in 2018 and some $3.1 million over the past three years.
For Oelschlager, that outpouring of support more than compensated for the disappointment of finishing well off his personal best marathon time.
“I was hoping to do better in the race, but everyone has applauded me for finishing,” says Oelschlager. “In the end, what made it so rewarding was being able to do something to help people in need and an organization that does so much good.”