$5M gift from the Mario Lemieux Foundation to UPMC Health System (UPMC) to create and establish the multi-disciplinary Mario Lemieux Centers for Patient Care and Research

 PITTSBURGH, Feb. 8, 2001 — Hockey legend and cancer survivor Mario Lemieux today announced a $5M gift from the Mario Lemieux Foundation to UPMC Health System (UPMC) to create and establish the multi-disciplinary Mario Lemieux Centers for Patient Care and Research.

The gift is the culmination of a long-standing partnership between UPMC and the Lemieux Foundation, which began shortly after Mr. Lemieux’s 1993 successful battle against Hodgkin’s disease. “We have selected UPMC Health System as the recipient of the Foundation’s largest grant,” said Lemieux, “because UPMC shares my Foundation’s commitment to cutting edge research and patient care.”

Specifically, the five million dollar gift to establish the Lemieux Centers reflects the Foundation’s charter to support significant medical research projects in western Pennsylvania. “Mario has made western Pennsylvania his home,” noted Tom Grealish, Executive Director of the Mario Lemieux Foundation. “It is only fitting that a world-class player such as Mario would choose to establish his Foundation’s legacy at UPMC — a world-class facility with outstanding research projects that reflect the Foundation’s areas of interest.”

“Mario’s Centers are a first for a major health system,” said John Paul, Executive Vice President of UPMC Health System. “Together, Mario and UPMC designed a group of Centers that reflect “bottom line” research to enhance the quality of life for people in our region.” “The magnitude of Mario’s generosity in establishing these Centers at UPMC should not be overshadowed by Mario’s return to hockey,” said Mr. Paul.

Beyond the significance of a just another ‘celebrity gift,’ the multi-disciplinary focus of the Lemieux Centers marks the first time a gift to UPMC will have a significant presence that reaches to at least three of its different facilities:

  • University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)
  • Magee-Womens Hospital
  • McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine

“We call this gift to UPMC ‘Centers Without Walls,’ said Mr. Grealish. “Mario’s wish is to lend his name to targeted centers where the real impact of the Foundation’s gift will be felt. In the simplest terms, this underscores the Foundation’s commitment to science and research.”

The Mario Lemieux Foundation has raised millions of dollars for cancer and other important medical research since 1993. The principle fundraiser for the Foundation is the Mellon Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational. Nationally recognized as one of the finest golf and community events in the country, the tournament last year netted over $1.2 million for the Foundation, while providing western Pennsylvania with the “star power” of such celebrities as Michael Jordan, John Elway and Wayne Gretzky.

UPMC Health System is a non-profit, comprehensive academic health care system dedicated to providing patient care, educating the next generation of health care professionals, and advancing biomedical knowledge through basic and clinical research. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC Health System is the leading integrated delivery system for healthcare in western Pennsylvania and is world-renowned for its many clinical and scientific advances.

Mario Lemieux Centers for Patient Care and Research

Details of the $5M gift:


  • Mario Lemieux Center for Patient Care
  • Mario Lemieux Laboratory in Pediatric Leukemia Research
  • Mario Lemieux Laboratory in Hodgkin’s disease Research

UPCI is western Pennsylvania’s only National Center Institute (NCI) -designated comprehensive cancer center and is ranked 12th in NCI funding. All three Lemieux facilities will advance UPCI’s research into the biology and treatment of lymphoma, as well as support current patient care.


Austin Lemieux Neonatal Research Project
Along with other significant medical research projects, the Foundation has traditionally supported cancer and neonatal research — and clinical care in both areas. These focuses were developed through deep personal experiences of the Lemieux family. Only four years after his triumph over cancer, Mario and Nathalie Lemieux’s only son, Austin, was born more 3 months prematurely at Magee-Womens Hospital. Today, Austin serves as a model for advanced, successful neonatal care, as well as a contributing factor to his father’s spectacular return to the game of hockey as an active player.


Mario Lemieux Project in Early Stage Research
The third aspect of the Mario Lemieux Foundation gift is its support of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Founded in 1992 in memory of MCI Founder William McGowan, the Lemieux Foundation’s gift serves as recognition of its interest in economic growth in Pittsburgh through innovative health care and technology. Scientists and researchers at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine work to develop mechanical and bio-artificial organs to reduce human suffering and extend the life of patients suffering from acute medical conditions or end-stage organ failure from chronic disease.