You’re going to have to earn it.

Tomorrow morning, we will be kicking off the fundraising effort for Make Room for Kids, an extension of Austin’s Playroom Project that was created right here at That’s Church.

Our goal, and by “our” I truly do mean “yours and mine,” is $10,000 between Chachi Plays for Kids and the online giving from here.

We are working to completely outfit with gaming, the Adolescent Medicine ward of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, which is floor 9A, sharing a floor with the Oncology ward at 9B.

Adolescent Medicine sees acute patients ages 12 to 20 years of age, the perfect ages for gaming!  The Child Life Specialists on the floor call these kids their “frequent fliers.”  Their average stay is about 5 to 10 days, however, they come back every couple of weeks or each month for more treatments.

These children suffer from ailments such as asthma, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, gastro intestinal disease, etc. The unit also admits endocrine patients (including diabetes) ages 0 and above and overflow patients from other units.

They have only one XBOX on the floor, which is in the teen lounge.  You can imagine how often it’s used by a group of 12- to 20-year-olds biding their time in a hospital. And how often that means that a child doesn’t have any game to play because the lone XBOX is being used.

Unfortunately, some of the kids on that floor are unable or too sick to go to the lounge, so they have the opportunity to sign out one of two laptops on the floor.

When we are done working with the Mario Lemieux Foundation and Microsoft, every room on 9A will have its own XBox and the patients will be able to choose from a wide variety of hand held gaming systems, games, DVD players, movies, laptops, iPads and more!  Because of you.

Microsoft employees and corporate matches have already done their part by donating the 24+ XBOXs.  You and I are to raise the $10,000 to purchase all of this, as evidenced in the delivery to the transplant floor not too long ago:

The great majority of us aren’t being proverbially smacked in the face our every waking moment with sickness and worry and fear and pain, and many of these children are.  Gaming is a respite from the constant living in their own brains with only their thoughts. It’s a chance to forget about the needles and treatments and fear.

Tomorrow morning, the PayPal button is going to go live. Here’s where it gets interesting.

I’m not going to post What They’re Really Thinking: Super Bowl Edition until the $10,000 is raised. This is the one I wrote for the last Super Bowl the Steelers were in.

I’ve never charged anyone anything to read anything I’ve ever written. Never sold ads on my site. Never wanted money for my words. Until now.

Give what you can, even if it is just the money for a cup of coffee, or the money for a pound of coffee, or the money for the coffee machine, or the money for the Platinum kickass all-doohickeyed-out Keurig.

Every single penny matters to me.

We can do this. $10,000 by Monday.

For sick kids.


  1. Amy
    January 31, 2011 5:07 pm

    Gonna be honest. My first thought was to cringe a little bit. $10K in a week? That’s a tall order.

    But then I remembered that this is Pittsburgh, and we can totally do it.

    I can’t wait until that button goes up.

  2. Rachel Palmieri
    January 31, 2011 6:17 pm

    Don’t forget, Amy, that Pittsburgh reaches all over the place. I’m a Pittsburgher in NC and I’ll be making a donation!

  3. JillM
    January 31, 2011 7:59 pm

    From “just outside of Youngstown Ohio” you shall get the equivalent of the wings that I cannot order because I started a diet today :) It will be a much better use of my money.

    Bring on the 2011 “What They Were Really Thinking”….

  4. Claire
    January 31, 2011 8:20 pm

    This is such a great idea. I’m a college student right now, but back in high school I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, and I had to stay in Children’s for a few days. My room was right next to the lounge. In the way of technology, I only remember it having a couple clunky computers that were usually being used. I would have loved to have access to iPads and laptops and such. And like I said, I only had to stay there for a few days – I can’t even imagine how welcome the distractions would be for the kids who have to keep coming back so often. Best of luck and keep being awesome! :)

  5. Kacie
    February 1, 2011 12:07 am

    I’m in. Do you think the kids would like a Kindle? When I was that age (not THAT long ago!) I loved reading and only did video games a little.

    So maybe a Kindle and some money for books to stock that Kindle?

  6. Heather
    February 1, 2011 12:24 am

    I think sometimes we all forget how lucky we are that most of us have happy, healthy children. Anytime your child is sick, you are grateful for ANYTHING to relieve it a little, right? This is awesome.
    And to the first 3 posts- I am also not an official Pittsburgher. Never lived there a day in my life…But I’m anxiously awaiting that button!

  7. It's Time
    February 1, 2011 10:25 am

    Thanks, Kacie! Totally agree that books are needed, though I’m fond of the tactile pleasure of actual paper…

  8. Virginia
    February 1, 2011 10:34 am

    I LOVE the idea of Kindles or Nooks (whichever company gives us a great big fat discount).

    It’s Time, while I understand the love of the paper, for sick kids’ sakes, eReaders would be better because they can be disinfected easily.

    We are going to see what we can do about this! Thanks, Kacie and It’s Time, for the fantastic idea. Also, keep in mind that the iPads can double as eReaders. We just need to work on getting a library for them.

  9. Kacie
    February 1, 2011 10:44 am

    I wonder if we could get a Kindle or a Nook or whatever, and have it all on one library account to be shared upon the iPads, too. Maybe that could work out for the sake of sick kids?

    And we could get not only some book titles for it, but some magazine subscriptions, too. Easy to disinfect!

    The thing that I really like about the Kindle (and I don’t even have one of my own yet, just seen ’em) is that since the screen isn’t backlit, it might be easier on their eyes.

    I’m waiting for that button to go up. Money for a Kindle (or whatever!) coming your way!

  10. Bulldog
    February 1, 2011 11:05 am

    I’m in.

    Also, as for building a library for e-readers, I know that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has downloadable e-books, videos, audio-books, etc. for users of e-readers such as Kindle and Nook. Maybe something could be arranged by MR4K/MLF for these patients to utilize that resource.

  11. Guins29
    February 1, 2011 11:35 am

    Love the the Kindle/Nook idea…especially Nook Color for children’s books! And I know our libraries in MD do the digital loaning, so that’s great. They also do audio books and the nook has an audio capability and headphone jack, so the kids can even listen. Maybe Scholastic Books (they do all the in-school order fliers) would partner?

    And I’m not at all surprised to see over $1000 already. I donated and I’ll fuss at hubby to do the same. I’ll also post to FB. =) And see if LaMarr or Keisel’s beard will pick it up and repost!

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  13. Kathy L.
    February 1, 2011 12:08 pm

    Anything for the kids! (And WTRT….)

  14. Rich D
    February 1, 2011 12:18 pm

    An ereader is a great idea. There are a ton of free ebooks for all devices. If the plan is to use library books, the device will need to support Adobe Digital Editions and the epub format. The kindle supports neither. The nook, kobo or sony devices would work well.

  15. steeler_tom
    February 1, 2011 9:20 pm

    Ok, I earned it. Donation made and shameless promo for more Donations on my FB page too!

  16. joe
    February 2, 2011 10:31 am

    I put in for $20 — good luck.