A really good day.

So, yesterday. BIG DAY for Make Room for Kids.

I arrived at Children’s at 9:30 a.m. to meet up with Jenn Strang from IKEA who came bearing the carts, and to wait for the rest of the crew who were due to arrive at 9:45.

At exactly 9:45 a.m., and I do mean exactly, and I asked and they swore they didn’t wait up the block, Microsoft pulled into the main entrance circle at Children’s with a caravan of SUVs where eight employees, grinning from ear-to-ear, hopped out and got to work unloading carts and carts of equipment and gifts for the kids.

That’s Luke Sossi there in the green. If you ever see him on the street, you should grab him and hug him because this man is an angel on Earth. Don’t worry. I’ll bail you out.

We then headed up to the seventh floor playroom where Microsoft stacked up the XBOXs to prepare them for installation in the rooms and to give us a chance to take a few pictures of such a wonderful display of generosity.

That’s Nancy Angus from the Mario Lemieux Foundation there on the right. She was a huge help in not only working with Microsoft and the hospital to make this happen, but also in sort of being the official voice for Make Room for Kids yesterday. She’ll continue to be a huge help as we roll out Phase II in the coming weeks, which means another trip for me and Mike to the Mario Lemieux Foundation offices, which hopefully means an opportunity for me to steal some Mario-autographed stuff off the walls.

Microsoft also came armed with a giant box of kid-friendly movies:

As well as an entire Rock Band set up, including guitars, microphones and drums.  Here’s Mike going nuts on the drums:

Immediately after that picture was taken, he bit the head off of a bat.  True story.

The kiosks are fantastic and super easy to wheel around.

In the background there is David Severino, the Microsoft XBOX guru. You guys, HE WAS WEARING X-BOX SNEAKERS! Love.

My inspiration, nine-year-old leukemia patient Genre Baker and his mother came and we put him to work putting stickers on all the games and movies.

And here’s where I cried a little, because two minutes before this picture was snapped I was telling Genre how he inspired everything he was seeing happening and so, yeah, tears from me:

I was just so glad he got to come and witness the good that came out of his fight against leukemia, which is a fight he is completely winning.  When I saw him a couple months ago, he had practically no hair and was wearing a surgical mask at church. Then when I saw him just a month ago, he had shed the mask and his hair was growing.  Yesterday, his mother told me he had just had to get a haircut and that his latest blood work was fantastic! I expect a tap-out from leukemia real soon.

After we took pictures, it was installation time. Have you ever tapped an ant hill with your foot and suddenly, the ants are all, “FIRE FIRE FIRE!!!” and hurriedly scatter every which direction? That’s basically what happened. Luke gave the signal and the Microsoft employees and Mike grabbed XBOXs, which were already labeled for each room, grabbed extra controllers, grabbed cables, fanned out and got to work, installing 23 XBOXs in under two hours. There was one room they couldn’t install, simply due to the health of the child. So, keep that kiddo in your thoughts and prayers that he or she will be well enough to use the XBOX soon.

I had a chance to talk to a few of the kids, which I loved.  They’re so strong. Really strong. Way stronger than me.

In one of the rooms, the mother of an infant transplant patient requested games for the newly installed XBOX so that she could pass some time, which is something I hadn’t even considered — that parents of smaller children might get some use out of “big-kid” games. That thrilled us all.

Here’s a little video that Children’s put together.  You’ll get to see Microsoft at work and you’ll hear from one of the patients.  You’ll notice I don’t talk in this video and that’s because I was very adamant that yesterday be about you guys and about Microsoft and about the kids. Not me. And I know I’m sounding like a broken record about that, but better it be that record than say, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” of which my tennis coach once said, “When does she come up for air?”

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  1. lovesthenorthside
    April 30, 2010 10:57 am


  2. Elmer Fudd
    April 30, 2010 10:59 am

    Truly Amazing!..

  3. tehamy
    April 30, 2010 11:03 am

    What wonderful pictures! They bring tears to my eyes. I can’t see the video from work, but I’m sure it’s just as wonderful.

    Thanks so much to Ginny, Mike, Microsoft, IKEA, Mario Lemieux Foundation, and everyone else involved for making this happen for the kids!

  4. James Bainbridge
    April 30, 2010 11:03 am

    I pray each and every day that my kids stay healthy. Then I thank God for people like all of you.

    It’s a damn dark world out there some days and it’s amazing how bright a little speck of thoughtfulness, kindness and love can make it.

    Well done. So very well done.

  5. hello haha narf
    April 30, 2010 11:05 am

    well done. so well done!

  6. SpudMom
    April 30, 2010 11:09 am

    What James Bainbridge said.

    Also, I cried. I can’t get over the incredible generosity of people in Pittsburgh. I can’t imagine being in the position of having my infant on a transplant floor. My youngest is 14 months old and the idea that he would be that ill is so scary. And then the knowledge that someone else’s child must lose their life so that another can live – how you can wish for that? So incredibly hard.

    You and all the readers here who donated have done an amazing thing, Ginny. Absolutely amazing.

  7. Gina
    April 30, 2010 11:09 am

    This city and the people in are nothing less than amazing. I love that this came together so well!

  8. TwinmamaTeb
    April 30, 2010 11:11 am

    Just awesome.

  9. spoon
    April 30, 2010 11:12 am

    If anyone ever questions the heart of yinzers they need to watch this video. There isn’t enough thanks that can go out to Ginny, Woy and everyone involved for making this happen for these kids.

    I’m proud to be a Pittsburgher

  10. Jen
    April 30, 2010 11:19 am

    Ginny –
    You should be so proud of yourself.

    OK, can’t type anymore now b/c I can’t see thru these tears….

  11. Carpetbagger
    April 30, 2010 11:20 am

    What a great day for Pittsburgh and for those kids!

  12. Ant Annie
    April 30, 2010 11:21 am

    And that is simply awesome!!

  13. bucdaddy
    April 30, 2010 11:22 am

    That enormous ring on your hand? After you stomp a pigeon to death, you stamp an impression on the stiff little body with that ring, don’t you? Probably looks like a hawk. To let the other pigeons know it was you and that they’re next, don’t you, Hawkwoman?

  14. GF
    April 30, 2010 11:27 am

    A Beautiful Day in da ‘Burgh.

    So very wonderful and thank you to all involved!

  15. Captain Shrimptaco
    April 30, 2010 11:35 am

    Words can’t describe how proud I am to call you and Woy friends…

  16. bluzdude
    April 30, 2010 11:36 am

    Great, now I’m all misted up, right before lunch.

    What a day, what a city, what a bunch of people that care!

  17. Tina
    April 30, 2010 11:41 am

    *SNIFF* – this is SOOOOOOO GREAT!!!!!!!!

  18. Dave
    April 30, 2010 11:44 am

    Truly awesome, Ginny. A big thanks to you, Woy, all the wonderful crew at the Pittsburgh Microsoft office, IKEA, and the Mario Lemieux Foundation for making this all come together.

    Great work, all of you!

  19. Karen
    April 30, 2010 11:45 am

    Wonderful work!!!

    And, great haircut on you too Ginny. I would love to know where you get it cut!

  20. aDerek
    April 30, 2010 11:49 am

    Warm feeling in my heart = tears on the keyboard.

  21. samantha jo campen
    April 30, 2010 11:53 am

    Such happy tears and a swelling heart. Thank you.

  22. Just A Simple Man
    April 30, 2010 11:53 am

    A toast to all of you Awesome Burghers!!!!

  23. Marcy
    April 30, 2010 11:53 am

    Fabulous. Huge Kudos to all involved. And BTW your hair looks great!

  24. unsatisfied
    April 30, 2010 11:55 am

    good work by all!

    and, another good hair day for you, ginny. :-)

  25. hoosierburgher
    April 30, 2010 12:00 pm

    Amazing….just simply amazing! Huge thanks to everyone involved. The look on that little boy’s face was what did me in…I know they are all so thankful!

  26. MessyDee
    April 30, 2010 12:04 pm

    What’s up with the “Bing” shirt? Sad tear running down my face. Sigh, guess you’ll no longer be lunching at Google Pittsburgh…

  27. Suz
    April 30, 2010 12:07 pm

    Now I have to go find a box of kleenex.

  28. rossga
    April 30, 2010 12:07 pm

    Some days, the good guys win. Yeah, that would be today…and the kids benefit!

  29. Kathy
    April 30, 2010 12:09 pm


  30. NewBurgher
    April 30, 2010 12:10 pm

    Love this. You’re awesome and so is everyone else involved.

  31. Amy
    April 30, 2010 12:13 pm

    I only made it to the second picture before I started tearing up. Ginny, Woy, everyone at Microsoft, everyone at the Mario Lemieux Foundation, everyone at Children’s, everyone who donated, and most of all, all of those kids…. I love you. I don’t know that I’ve ever more proud of being from Pittsburgh.

  32. DG
    April 30, 2010 12:15 pm

    I was right – I cried. Fantastic work, Ginny. Proud to be a ‘Burger today.

  33. Kim Lyons
    April 30, 2010 12:25 pm

    Well done, Ginny, really well done.

  34. gunnlino
    April 30, 2010 12:28 pm

    Ginny, you and all those who worked so hard and did so much have made a special place for a special group of children and their parents. May God bless you and keep you all.

  35. Tiffany
    April 30, 2010 12:35 pm

    Yet another reason why I love Pittsburgh. Well done Ginny, and all those who helped. There is a special place in Heaven for people like you.

  36. Beatrice
    April 30, 2010 12:42 pm

    Oh, boy. Just simply WONDERFUL. So exciting!

    And, your hair looks great, Ginny.

  37. Ginny"s Mom
    April 30, 2010 12:43 pm

    Thank you to all of you on That’s Church, and to the employees of Microsoft. What an amazing bunch of people you are. Burgers are the most generous people on the planet…..Be very proud of yourselves. Job well done !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. Rachel
    April 30, 2010 12:45 pm


    Warm, fuzzy, happy tears!

  39. Pensgirl
    April 30, 2010 12:46 pm

    Love this, of course. But also, don’t think missed how you timed the release of your curling video so it would be immediately trumped by the game delivery! Yuppo, lady, I’m in ur commentz, calling out ur strategeez.

    Great hair by the way.

  40. Pa-pop
    April 30, 2010 12:55 pm

    To think: This all started last September 8th when Virginia asked us to vote in an online competition initiated by The Children’s Miracle Network and Microsoft. When the voting website turned into (Virginia’s words) a “giant hairy ball of suck,” she immediately launched into Plan B. The kids at Children’s were not to be denied.

    Yesterday was the heartwarming conclusion to this particular chapter of Virginia’s crusade for sick kids.

    A ton of people played vitals roles in making this all happen, but none more important than you, Virginia. There’s a line from the movie “Dead Poets Society” that is truly apropos here: “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” Thank you, Virginia. Your words and ideas are now changing and brightening the world for this region’s sick youngsters.

  41. TTG
    April 30, 2010 1:02 pm

    This is amazing. Congrats to all involved.

  42. Karen
    April 30, 2010 1:03 pm

    Very teary-eyed. Thank you Ginny, Woy, Microsoft folks and Ikea for taking our contributions and turning them into such awesomeness!

  43. Tina Fey
    April 30, 2010 1:04 pm


    Amazing the power of one blog and its fabulous readers in the best city on earth!!!!!!!!!!!! (The absurd amount of exclamation points is in homage to Mom.)

  44. Clair
    April 30, 2010 1:16 pm

    AWESOME!! :::sniffle::: :)

  45. Biggest Fan
    April 30, 2010 1:16 pm


  46. Erin
    April 30, 2010 1:19 pm

    Wow. Thank you for posting this and for the video. So often when we donate to something we don’t get to see the outcome – which is fine, not the point of donating, but it’s great to be able to see the difference we made. I love that Luke Sossi! Thank you so much for initiating this.

  47. Carly
    April 30, 2010 1:20 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing that with us!

  48. Lizzy
    April 30, 2010 1:43 pm

    Awesome work Ginny :-)

  49. Jonathan
    April 30, 2010 1:50 pm

    Overwhelming. Congratulations and a huge thank you to you, Mike, the generous folks from Microsoft and everyone who’s making this happen. You are not only making a remarkable difference in those kids’ lies, you are inspiring us all.

  50. Scott
    April 30, 2010 1:57 pm

    Another example of what makes the people of Pittsburgh the awesomest of the awesome! KUDOS!! WELL DONE! Keep up the great work!!