A really really really good day

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Last Friday at 9:00 a.m., Make Room for Kids, an initiative of the Mario Lemieux Foundation supported by Microsoft and ALL OF YOU, arrived at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with the goal to provide a multimedia makeover for the CICU unit, the Cardiac Step Down unit, and the Trauma/Ortho unit. In addition, we delivered boxes of new games, movies, and other goodies to every unit we overhauled in years past … transplant, adolescent medicine, and oncology. Our most ambitious install day ever.

The morning kicked off when the Mario Lemieux Foundation and Microsoft arrived with SUVs full of good stuff for the kids.

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That’s a lot of loot!

Me and MLF’s Nancy Angus being adorable and staying out of the way adorably. Adorable.

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Briefing by Microsoft’s Luke Sossi, the planning and logistics mastermind who ensures the operation runs smoothly and who also ran the fundraising campaign at Microsoft, encouraging employees to donate to the program:

IMG_0699Child Life Specialist Beth Moneck talks about how important the gaming will be to the patients and also prepares the installers for what they might encounter in the CICU rooms:

IMG_0707Nancy Angus thanks everyone for their time and donations to the program. There in the background is Frank. He’s the person at the hospital responsible for making sure each room is ready for an XBOX install — a process that starts way back in the fall:

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And they’re off! Three floors to hit, 4, 6, and 8.

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The first XBOX is installed in the waiting area of the CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit) as the families and siblings of patients often have long waits here considering surgeries can happen at any time in the CICU rooms.

IMG_0714All done!

IMG_0721The CICU is just … well … heartbreaking. You can’t fathom what these kids and their families are suffering through, and your donations are going a long way to make their stay a little bit better.

Hannah is 11 and if her room is any indication, she loves pink and black.  She’s here for surgeries while awaiting a heart transplant. As the install was taking place, she sat on her bed holding a copy of Plants versus Zombies, which just happened to be the game she was handed while they installed her XBOX. She was quiet and I said, “Did you want a different game to play maybe?”

She shyly nodded her head as if she felt badly for asking and I’m thinking, “Girl. You’re 11. You’re waiting for a new heart. You can have anything you damn well want. BRB.”

So we hooked her up with Angry Birds and this was her reaction:

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Here’s another young patient who was happy to get started with the new XBOX in her room:

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