The really long post in which I tell you what you’re doing this Saturday.

Mario Lemieux Foundation

I bet you thought I forgot all about our sick kids at Children’s Hospital, didn’t you?

I bet you thought I gave up on giving the older patients there a gaming room in which they can spend a few hours on Super Mario Sunshine, forgetting for a moment that they’re really sick.

You would be wrong.  I NEVER FORGET ABOUT THE KIDS!

Since that contest ended in which Children’s did not win a $10,000 gameroom courtesy of Microsoft and the Children’s Miracle Network, I’ve been hard at work emailing and shenanigana-ing with the greatest group of people in the Burgh … Pittsburgh’s Social Media crowd.  Bloggers, twitterererers, podcasters, etc.

Not only that, thanks to reader Sooska for the suggestion, I went to the Mario Lemieux Foundation and asked if they would serve as the middleman between us and Children’s Hospital and they said yes! and then FLIPPED  A FEW CARTWHEELS! and maybe even threw us a party in their heads.  Mario Lemieux’s foundation has a division called The Playroom Project that places playrooms in local hospitals.  To my knowledge, this will be the first big-kid playroom they’ll donate, on our behalf.

In addition, I have other BIG GIANT NEWS about an INTERNATIONAL company that has proactively contacted me to offer to help with this and golly boy howdy gee, it is awesome.  Just need to work out a few details before I announce that, but a hint:  FURNITURE!

So, our goal? $10,000 for our sick kids.  That will be enough to buy some sweet LCD TVs, awesome gaming systems, awesome mind-numbing, addictive, forget-you’re-sick-for-a-while games, computers, computer games, AND even a bit left over to purchase some hand-held gaming systems for those children too sick to or unable to leave their beds. We’ll bring the games to THEM!

High-five, Burghers!

Now, you ask, can’t UPMC just fork over a quick 10 grand and do this themselves? I don’t know.  Maybe they could.  The point is that you and me, WE are giving this room to these kids as a gift and we’re essentially letting them know that there’s a whole city of people that would really like to see them kick the hell out of whatever it is they’re fighting at the moment.

Why gaming, you ask? I’m an amazing mind reader.  You girls are also thinking about Daniel Sepulveda shirtless and you boys are also thinking about beer.  Moving on.  Little story.  When I first made the decision to come out and reveal my identity, my butler Mike Woycheck and I began planning a charity reveal that would have taken place at Diesel and would have been a butt-kicking good time complete with celebrities and auctions and booze, etc.  The goal was to raise $5,000 for a local charity, but I wasn’t sure which charity I wanted to raise it for.  I considered the John Challis Courage for Life Foundation, but I wondered if there was a more direct way I could help sick kids.  Then the next day at church there was an announcement that a young boy named Genre Baker, a church member, was fighting leukemia and in doing so was raising money not only for the medical bills associated with the next several years of treatments (as it stands right now, his blood counts are low and that’s not good.  More tests this week.) and also because he wanted to be able to give the gift of gaming to other patients that didn’t have a hand-held gaming system like he had to pass the hours in the hospital.

I ended up nixing the fundraiser idea because it got too big and I got scared because I’m little old me, and I’m a writer.  I should use my words to reveal myself.  And I did.

Combining what I had learned about Genre Baker with the contest to bring a gaming room to Children’s Hospital, it felt like I found a way to use what little bit of notoriety I have to do some good for our local sick kids.

Bring them some gaming, FTW!

Now, next Monday is your first chance to make a straight donation to this effort (kickass name and logo to be unveiled soon), and those donations will be turned over to Mario’s foundation for safekeeping until we have given them $10,000.

However, this week is Thanksgiving week and while you and I might be enjoying our families and friends and the love we’re surrounded with every day, we are obviously aware that there are those who are suffering, who are in hospitals, orphanages, missing their loved ones, and on and on.

My plan is that this Saturday, after we’ve had a few days to be thankful for what we have, that we use our Saturday night out to give to those that DON’T have.

You have two choices if you’d like to help.

1.  This Saturday from 6-9 is Mariachi Night at my husband’s restaurant Las Velas.  There will be a real live Mariachi Band and also $5 margaritas!  My husband has generously agreed to donate 15% of all of the sales from that entire day to my effort.  I’ll be there with my whole family for dinner.  Every sister except Tina Fey will be there with their families and we are going to have a grand time eating and drinking and spending our money (yes, my husband makes us pay, too).  Please come out and JOIN US!  Maybe you can come down and go ice skating across the square and then head over for some dinner and fun with me.  From now to Saturday, I’m going to try to come up with some extra incentives for you to come out because the more money we all spend, the more money goes into the pot toward the $10,000.  I’m hoping to get a few local celebrities there as well.  Wish me luck!

2.  Ti Kanaval benefiting the BRESMA Orphanage.  This takes place at the Altar Bar in the Strip also from 6-9 this Saturday.  This event supports two local sweethearts and is only $12 at the door.  Ali and Jamie McMutrie have dedicated the last several years of their lives working at an orphanage in Haiti.  Let me tell you something — they are risking their lives every single day doing what they’re doing for over 100 orphaned children.  They have an AMAZING story and this is their one event here in Pittsburgh to help raise funds for their efforts in Haiti.  There will be loads of fun there as well.  After I spend a few hours at Las Velas, I’m going to ALSO head over to this fundraiser for a bit to give these girls my support.  I’ve never been to the Altar Bar, so you guys can all be my date for my first outing there, since my husband will have to stay back at the restaurant.  Here are some pictures of Ali and Jamie:

4109311269_aba6dddc2c

4110077460_43dc8a35c4

(source)

Amazing girls.

There’s no reason that BOTH Of these events shouldn’t raise money for their respective causes because either way, in the end, it is the CHILDREN that matter.

This week, I’ll be providing more details about the Las Velas fundraiser and on how the donations will be taken and processed come Monday.  PLEASE NOTE:  If you cannot make it to the fundraiser, you will be able to donate directly via the mechanism we will set up on Monday.  Everyone will have a chance to pitch in.  We’re going to keep at it until we reach our goal.  My butler, Mike, also is generously donating a portion of the sales of all shirts sold at www.wearpittsburgh.com until our goal is reached.

This is the kind of group effort it will take to get us the money we need to allow the foundation to get started on that gameroom.

This is the best of Pittsburgh, my friends.  I hope you all can pitch in and help.

More details every day!

Now, Burghers far and wide, if we do this thing … if we raise this $10,000 for our sick kids … you will not only be richly rewarded in some fashion at some point in your life, you’ll not only feel a great sense of satisfaction that you gave back this holiday season, I will also … oh, my … reveal my space-themed high school graduation picture.

It’s on.





126 Comments


  1. Bojack
    November 24, 2009 9:27 am

    PAY UP MOTHERFUCKER!!!



  2. Bojack
    November 24, 2009 9:30 am

    >>> Red Pen MaMa-

    Unfortunately there’s no shortage of little-dick weenies like UPMSmegma who do NOTHING of their own but sit around and criticize people they are jealous of!!



  3. Stephanie
    November 24, 2009 9:43 am

    umpsee keeps talking about the $8B the “health” system has. so why isn’t it putting up the $10k itself to fund this? that would be 0.000125% of it’s annual revenue. but upmc is all about lining its pockets instead of patient care. upmc is a research center. patients are just a means to an end.

    children’s hospital does FANTASTIC work. they were the only hospital in the area who would treat my friend when she was born 35 years ago – and continued to treat her until her death at age 21 even after she became an adult b/c no other doctor would take her case. the kids there deserve everything we can do to help them. i won’t be there on saturday but you can be sure i will be donating.

    and will someone going on saturday please pat ginny on the back for me?



  4. JenEngland
    November 24, 2009 9:54 am

    Ok, maybe someone already pointed this out, but the profit margin for Restaurants is very slim, especially new ones. I am always amazed when Restaurants donate part of their take because of that fact. The failure rate (turn your head Ginny) for Restaurants is astronomical. This is a good deed. Period.



  5. Michael Hasko
    November 24, 2009 9:54 am

    Virginia,

    Ah well, that’s a shame. As I’ve already donated to them, I guess I’ll have to donate for this as well.

    You know, to help even things out. -mgrin-

    Sadly I’ll be out of town this weekend and can’t make any of my Ginny-mandated social calls (epic phail on my part, I know), but I’ll do what I can in the coming weeks.

    Also, to readers of the blog, may I suggest this. If you’re making up Christmas lists to give to friends and family, may I suggest adding this at the top of your list:

    *Instead of buying me a gift, donate the money you would have spent on me to a charity.

    And then add links to the charities you’d liked to support. It’s the only thing I’m asking for Spendmas this year, and if you think you can go without that Best Buy gift card for the kids, it’s a powerful way to support causes you rally for.



  6. Emilie
    November 24, 2009 11:14 am

    Rats – have a child’s birthday party to go to or I would be all over the margaritas.

    As it were – can’t wait to make a donation after Monday. Great cause to support.

    Someone have a margarita (or two or three) for me on Saturday night.



  7. Dina
    November 24, 2009 11:52 am

    Ginny, I personally love that you have continued the quest from when the contest was over and we didn’t win. I suppose it’s actually better that we didn’t win, because it shows that Pittsburgh is willing to stand up for something we really believe in.
    The people in Pittsburgh are SOME of the most incredibly giving, charitable people I have ever met. I am thankful beyond measure at the giving of Burghers. They have supported me as a newbie when I didn’t know anyone. So yeah. This Charity proves a point. It’s all about Pittsburgh Love, The fight for the Win. We didn’t win the contest? So what! This is even better.
    I spent the better part of the first 5 years of my life in a Childrens Hospital. I wasn’t expected to make it. So I totally know what some of those other sick kids are going through. This game room will bring a smile and some joy where it’s needed most.
    Thank you Ginny.



  8. Tinare
    November 24, 2009 1:16 pm

    Hey, just pumping up the thread count in case the jerk troll guy wants to weasel out by not counting his posts… Not that I’d expect an all-talk, no-action person to actually pay up anyway.

    Looking forward to the direct-donate info. next week. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



  9. bluzdude
    November 24, 2009 1:28 pm

    All this just goes to show that whatever one tries to do for the betterment of others, there’s always someone to crap all over it.

    Ginny, it looks to me like your minions have your back.



  10. red pen mama
    November 24, 2009 1:55 pm

    @Bojack, down, boy.

    ciao,
    rpm



  11. Miss Lee
    November 24, 2009 2:04 pm

    Ginny, this is a GREAT initiative – I’m a former CHP employee and you can bet that every patient, employee and faculty member will truly appreciate the effort. Projects like this frees up other donations to go where the hospital has the greatest need (Free Care Fund, anyone?).

    Can’t wait to donate on Monday.



  12. NW Joe
    November 24, 2009 3:55 pm

    UPMSee, every major league city in the past 20 years has built some stadium for their sports team. It doesn’t make it right. It just is.

    However, I am not sure what is tackier. Some people that want to help sick kids or someone who seems to have nothing better to do with his life than belittle these people in order to make himself feel better about what has to be a miserable life.



  13. Bojack
    November 24, 2009 4:58 pm

    >>>RPM-

    No can do!!

    Mentally, and testicularly-challenged shitheads like UPMSmegma

    need to be shat upon!!!!



  14. Don
    November 24, 2009 5:08 pm

    How about if I give money to a good cause without using Mario Lemieux as a middleman?



  15. Virginia
    November 24, 2009 8:03 pm

    Don, just wanted you to know that I needed a nonprofit middleman to funnel the donations through so that they would be tax deductible for those that would like that. Mario’s foundation came back to me the fastest with a yes and that’s why I’m using them. They’re also going to do all the work: Buying the equipment, arranging the room, the installation of equipment, the furniture delivery and assembly, EVERYTHING. They’re doing a wonderful thing for us.



  16. Don
    November 25, 2009 12:51 am

    I just have a problem with people who make a public show of doing charitable things when there are thousands who do more and don’t seek or get publicity. There are people who take two buses three days a week to get to a soup kitchen, where they volunteer when TV cameras aren’t around. They impress me more than celebrities who show up for ribbon cuttings and “lend their name” to causes that ultimately serve to enhance their images.



  17. houndogg
    November 25, 2009 11:55 am

    don, really??? using lemieux as your target??? i guarantee he does WAY more than what you hear about on tv or read in the paper. trust me, find something else to nit-pick…



  18. Don
    November 25, 2009 9:05 pm

    Yeah, really. And I know more about that you do, trust me. This is a guy who has his hands in the pockets of the public in so many ways and magically presents himself as a philanthropist. Sorry, I’m not 12 years old any more and don’t worship athletes and their BS machines.



  19. houndogg
    November 26, 2009 12:34 pm

    i like how you just assured someone you’ve never met and no nothing about that you “know more about” something than he does. way to go! so much for the quality of your statements… sorry you’re bitter



  20. Pingback: Pittsburgh Girlie » Happy Thanksgiving

  21. Don
    November 26, 2009 10:40 pm

    I like how he assumed that my only knowledge of Lemieux was what was in the papers or on TV. Rate the quality of that statement. It’s not bitterness, it’s reality. Sorry it has to invade your silly world.



  22. Pingback: Pittsburgh Girlie » Tweet-Up

  23. Pingback: Random Thoughts: Broken Record « Red Pen Mama

  24. Pingback: saturday. « Uncle Crappy

  25. Pingback: a rational creature » Make Room For Kids!

  26. Pingback: Sportsocracy.org » Blog Archive » McCutchen And The Bucs Give Up A 13-Run Inning