Nearly 300 guests joined the Mario Lemieux Foundation VIRTUALLY on Thursday, June 4 for the 21st annual Austin’s Playrooms Luncheon and Fundraiser. The event, hosted through Microsoft Teams, raised over $150,000 for Austin’s Playrooms, specifically the Foundation’s latest Playroom in development at UPMC’s Western Psychiatric Hospital’s in-patient pediatric floor. Austin’s Playrooms, an initiative created by Nathalie Lemieux through her own experiences, creates safe and comfortable spaces in medical facilities for children who are enduring extended stays, whether as a patient or as a sibling of a patient.
Traditionally held in-person at the Fairmont, the annual fundraiser was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then rescheduled as a virtual event after committee members and sponsors rallied behind the event’s mission.
Nancy Angus, Executive Director of the Mario Lemieux Foundation, presented the virtual fundraiser from the Foundation’s office. “Kids are still getting sick. Disease doesn’t discriminate during a pandemic and cancer doesn’t stop because of COVID-19. Kids who need care, need that care now, regardless of stay at home orders or red, yellow or green restrictions. So your support is more important than ever to provide help and encouragement for these kids and families.”
The hour-long event included private virtual ‘table’ meetings prior to the event, a live presentation, and auction and raffle items. In addition to the guests’ generosity, the Lemieux Foundation recognizes and thanks these gracious sponsors for their continued support: Highmark, UPMC, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, the Greenberg Family, the Carfaro Livingston Charitable Trust, Giant Eagle and Eby-Brown. A special thanks to the Citrone 33 Foundation for their $50,000 gift to help support the new Austin’s Playroom at Western Psychiatric Hospital.