47 pictures of a really good day. UPDATED.

Update: I feel like I won the Oscar and forgot to thank the director. WOY! I forgot to thank Mike Woycheck in this post. Woy wasn’t able to be there today due to prior commitments, but he was still very much a part of this effort and was instrumental in helping with the technical aspects of the fund raising. God bless Woy!

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Today was Make Room for Kids 3.0 at Children’s Hospital and I wanted to share the day with you, since it was your donations that helped make it all possible for our city’s sick kids.

I arrived at 7:45 a.m. along with some of the Microsoft crew to await Luke Sossi’s arrival with the XBOXes as the Mario Lemieux Foundation was already on site with the other goodies such as the Cricut machine, cameras, games, movies and more.

Waiting:

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Here comes Luke making raise the roof hand gestures while pulling in. You can’t see the hand gestures here, but they were very legit. The roof was definitely raised.

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Then everyone pitches in to unload the goodies onto carts to be rolled to the elevator bay:

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Heading to the elevators:

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Everything is then unloaded in the teen lounge where the hospital has treated us with bagels, muffins, and coffee. Score!

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Luke gathers up the troops and gives instructions. We will first start with the 8-bed infusion outpatient room so that we can be done before the kids start showing up for their oftentimes day-long treatments.

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The inspiration for Make Room for Kids, Genre Baker and his mother arrive and Luke is sure to introduce him to the group. Genre is very nearly done with his cancer treatments. He has many friends on the floor.

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In the infusion room where Genre has endured MANY a treatment, Luke tells him he’ll be installing the first unit and instructs him on how to do it:

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Success!

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Between Microsoft and Make Room for Kids donations, we have purchased a veritable crap-ton of XBOX Live points for the infusion beds so that the kids can choose different games, movies, radio, etc. Anything they want, they have it right at their fingertips while they’re being treated.

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An infusion bed awaits its install and a patient to claim the hat and lanyard donated by Microsoft:

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Getting to work:

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Genre is cool in front of the camera. He should give me lessons:

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With the infusion beds all installed and ready for the first patients of the day to arrive, we head back to the teen lounge to prepare to hit the inpatient rooms. There are almost two dozen installs still to be done. I get to work unpacking all of the games and movies. We also had an entire box of Kinect games that would be divided amongst the three Kinects installed in the common play areas.

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This day marked the 100th XBOX donated by the local Microsoft employees, so they were sure it was a special edition white XBOX with a white Kinect:

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Nancy Angus of the Mario Lemieux Foundation talks to WTAE. I consider video-bombing, but wisely decide against it.

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Two years ago:

Today:

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What the heck are they feeding that boy!?

Genre gets busy playing Kinect with a patient:

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This kid was filled so much personality. He also claims he has never heard of Mario Lemieux. We gave him a quick lesson and told him how Mario used to have cancer.

“He beat it?” he asked Nancy Angus.

“He beat it and he has been cancer free for 20 years,” she said.

“Cool.”

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Genre couldn’t go into any isolation rooms, but he was able to visit a few other rooms. Here he is handing out a game to a patient:

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This patient got right to work:

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I checked back in on the previous patient a while later and found him still playing:

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Daniel is 9 and has been in the hospital since before Genre was diagnosed three years ago. He is fighting his SECOND fight with leukemia. His mother explained to me that there are two types of leukemia and he beat one type and then was diagnosed with the second type. He recently finished his second bone marrow transplant. He has a Facebook page that was started in January when he became gravely ill. Since then, he’s doing much better and has received over 1,000 cards from around the world. 300 in one day alone! They are all hanging in his room. I didn’t go in to meet Daniel because he was an “isolation” patient. His mother told me the video games make a huge difference to him.

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A Cricut scrapbooking machine was requested and WISH GRANTED, along with lots of cool cartridges for it and tools that I have no idea what they’re for. We were just buying what we thought they would need. Still don’t know what a Cricut Spatula is, but we bought them two, as well as a bunch of photo paper, a photo printer and two digital cameras with cases and extra memory cards:

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Headphones! Eight will go to the outpatient infusion beds and the remainder will be given to the inpatient beds:

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And that’s not all. We also asked our previously installed units, the transplant unit and the adolescent medicine unit if they had any items they wished for, and we were able to bring them some new games they requested as well as some extra controllers to replace lost ones:

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Whew. An incredible day, and there’s still more to do. We still need to install the XBOXs at Allegheny General Hospital’s pediatric unit and deliver their games and movies. We will get to that in the coming months.

In addition, in July, thanks to the Ansys portion of donation made in Matt Conover’s memory, each bed in Children’s Hospital’s cancer unit will be receiving an iPad.

More on those things in the future. For now, a huge thanks to our local Microsoft team for completely dedicating themselves to this project and for donating more than 100 XBOXs over the last three years. And a huge thanks to you for your donations that not only bought all of the things I showed you here, but also various XBOX and Kinect mounts, cables, security locks, and much more.

And I personally have to thank the Mario Lemieux Foundation. There is just so much that goes on behind the scenes to make today happen, and I’m thankful they’re here to handle that because they’re so good at it. If it was in my hands, it would be pure chaos.

Today I was asked why Make Room for Kids is so important to me and I said, “Because it’s important to the kids. It’s an escape. They’re going through things — emotionally and physically — that not even some adults could handle, and they’re doing it like champs. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t make them feel better with medicine, but I can do this. We can give them an escape from being sick.”

So thank you for finding this program important too, and having my back so that together we can give them that chance to escape, even if just for a few hours.

Group hug!





18 Comments

  1. AngryMongo
    April 19, 2012 3:34 pm

    Damn you. *sniff* /kleenex :)



    • SteelCityMagnolia
      April 19, 2012 3:40 pm

      Ditto.

      You’re an awesome person, Ginny, for doing so much for these kids! I’d say we’re all awesome-by-association, but you stand alone and shine for this one!!!



      • Rachel
        April 19, 2012 3:56 pm

        Ditto again

        I’m in tears here and I can’t even see the pictures! (Stupid firewall)

        Congrats to all (especially you Ginny for spearheading the fundraising) for making today a success!



  2. Sue
    April 19, 2012 4:01 pm

    How wonderful! This whole project is just awesome! Congratulations to you and your friends, Ginny, for helping make things like this happen. PS – Genre is almost taller than you. Haha. Cool kid!



  3. Steve P.
    April 19, 2012 4:22 pm

    I’m sure someone has already mentioned this, Ginny, but this is essentially what Child’s Play charity does all across the world.

    http://www.childsplaycharity.org/

    Apparently they already donate to the UPMC Children’s Hospital. These are great things for sick kids.



  4. Noelle
    April 19, 2012 4:49 pm

    I think you have mad donor relations skillz!!! Thanks for showing us the impact of our gifts. (love your hair straight)



  5. Suzie-Q
    April 19, 2012 6:17 pm

    Just saw the coverage on Channel 4..HOW WONDERFUL….You my dear are truly a BLESSING!!!!!
    Thanks for all you do and allowing all of us to “join” you!!!!



  6. Butcher's Dog
    April 19, 2012 7:09 pm

    Anyone not in tears needs to check into the nearest hospital; you may already be dead. Awesome stuff, Ginny. Just a minor reason why we all love you so much.



  7. Cole
    April 19, 2012 9:34 pm

    This is such a great story. Thank you so much for your commitment to such a great cause.



  8. Tina Fey
    April 19, 2012 9:37 pm

    Rock on, Sister Friend! You suck for making my stone-cold heart melt. I don’t like to cry.

    Good job, and (completely shallow observation) you look great. Love the hair!

    So impressed with your work and with the generosity of your readers.



  9. Gina
    April 20, 2012 8:09 am

    It’s wonderful to see all your hard work in action.



  10. bluzdude
    April 20, 2012 9:10 am

    It’s so cool to see Genre himself, handing out the games and functioning as an “ambassador.” Unbelievable day… I’m overwhelmed. Well done.



  11. Rich D
    April 20, 2012 10:27 am

    Sweet! Great job to you and all who donated!



  12. Secret Agent L
    April 20, 2012 10:28 am

    This? IS THE BEST-EST THING EVER.

    Ginny, you continue to inspire me. I love this. Love, love, love it. So happy for the kids, the hospital, and everyone involved!!!

    GO AWESOME PEOPLE!

    xoxo,
    L.



  13. John Gorham
    April 21, 2012 3:57 pm

    Thank You. I know how much those Xboxes mean to those kids firsthand. My son was diagnosed in March ,2011 with a medulablastonia, a malignant brain tumor, and we spent more time in Children’s Hospital than any kid should ever have to. The Xboxes, games, movies and crafts help them forget where they are and why they are there for a little while. People like you make this world great. THANK YOU!!!



  14. Southsideguy
    April 21, 2012 7:13 pm

    Thank you Ginny, MLF, and Microsoft for making this day happen!! It is amazing to see how many lives have been impacted by this…..



  15. Cassie
    April 21, 2012 10:03 pm

    Oh I love this. ALL OF THIS. Thank you so much!



  16. Erin
    April 23, 2012 3:47 pm

    Well, little Daniel has just broken my heart. Thank you for doing this.