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!
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:
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.