Ariel Memorial CrossFit Fundraiser

This past May, Sonya Silvaggio and her fellow CrossFit enthusiasts hosted the 5th Annual Ariel Memorial WOD (Workout of the Day), a heart-pumping fundraiser to honor Sonya’s late daughter.

Cosponsored by the Fianna Foundation, the event kicked off at 7:30 a.m. with a quick warm-up followed by a rigorous array of endurance-building exercises. Held at CrossFit A.I.M., a popular gym in Allison Park led by owner Steve Cupec, the fundraiser was open to all regardless of age or ability level and featured CrossFit cornerstones like pushups, burpees, and squats.

Since the fundraiser’s inception in 2020, Ariel Memorial WOD attendees have gone the extra mile in honor of Ariel, raising a pulse-racing $60,000 to date! All proceeds benefit the Ariel Silvaggio Research Fund, providing direct funding to fuel cancer research and care at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

The inspiration for the event, Sonya’s daughter Ariel, was 5 when she was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Ariel fought through several rounds of chemotherapy, countless blood transfusions, two rounds of CAR-T therapy, and a bone marrow transplant.

On January 8, 2020, at the age of 7, sweet Ariel passed away. The Ariel Memorial WOD is held on her birthday each year — a way for Sonya to channel her unimaginable loss into an opportunity to help other kids and families.

According to Sonya, a CrossFit fundraiser feels like the right sort of event to honor her daughter’s memory. Ariel was tough, and she wasn’t afraid to get a little dirty. “She would come home from daycare filthy and with worms in her pockets,” Sonya remembers with a smile.

So, Sonya and her friends, family, and supporters, sweat it out each year to honor the legacy of a little girl with a big smile, a bit of spunk, and a ton of grit.

Our deepest thanks to Sonya, CrossFit A.I.M., and their many supporters for pulling their weight and feeling the burn — while raising a bulk of money for the Ariel Silvaggio Research Fund in the process!

To learn more about how you can give back to UPMC Children’s or share your story with our Foundation team, please visit: givetochildren’