Stepping out of hiatus: Make Room for Kids news

Let’s talk about something that’s happening with Make Room for Kids that was made official today and you’ll see why I needed to get this post up before the end of the year in a minute.

What I thought would be a one-time, $10,000 gift to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh turned into a more than $20,000 gift thanks to Microsoft and you, that allowed us to completely outfit the transplant ward with gaming and electronics.

Since that time, Microsoft and the Mario Lemieux Foundation have expressed interest in keeping Make Room for Kids going, because there’s a whole hospital outside of the transplant ward filled with sick kids who would also love gaming to make their stay a little more bearable.

For the sake of the kids, I sat down one day and took a look at Make Room for Kids as it sat in my hands, and realized that as long as it sat in my hands, it would be limited in its ability to reach as many sick kids as possible.  I’m a blogger. I’m not a nonprofit. I don’t have staff or an office or anything like that.

What I do have, are minions. [fist bump]

So I talked to Mike about what I wanted to do and he was immediately on board.

We then went to the Mario Lemieux Foundation and offered Make Room for Kids to them.

And they accepted it.

Make Room for Kids is now an extension of Austin’s Playroom Project at the Mario Lemieux Foundation.

What does this change?

1. It makes it easier to seek in-kind gifts from companies like OtterBox, Apple, Nintendo, LeapFrog, etc. Instead of writing to them to say MR4K is a social-media project in partnership with MLF, we can say it’s a Mario Lemieux Foundation project supported by social media. That little turn of phrase will go a long way in getting a “yes” from those companies.

2. It allows Microsoft and the Mario Lemieux Foundation to work together in a more official capacity, not just for Make Room for Kids, but in all of the foundation’s playrooms and projects. That means not just sick kids will benefit, but their siblings as well. Since they came on board, the local Microsoft office has stayed heavily involved in MR4K, but I’ll get to that in a sec.

3. It doesn’t change anything for me and you because I will still be involved in raising the money for the project, particularly the money needed for the items outside of the XBoxes. I’ll still be using social media to help MLF get the funds to buy iPads, Leapsters, handheld gaming systems, games, laptops, etc. All of those things we bought during Phase II for the transplant ward will still come from money you and I will raise and donate.

4. It means more smiles from more sick kids, and that’s what’s most important to me. A greater reach.

What now?

1. Children’s Hospital has identified the next ward that would most benefit from gaming, and that is the Adolescent Medicine ward on the 9th floor, which is also the oncology floor. I’ll give you more information about those kids when we near the time to raise funds for them. They’re troopers. Truly.

2. The local Microsoft office, via employee donations and corporate matches, has ALREADY DONATED THE 24+ XBOXES NEEDED TO OUTFIT THAT WARD. I know. Amazing.

3. Come late January, early February, we will launch an on-line giving campaign here at That’s Church to raise the $10,000 needed to purchase the iPads, laptops, etc. for the Adolescent Medicine ward, just as we did to raise that first $10,000 for the transplant ward. We are hoping for an April delivery and install.

4. Here’s why I needed to post this now: If you’d like to get your donation in before the end of the tax year, you can do that by clicking here and donating via PayPal directly to MLF’s Make Room for Kids fund. Anything donated from this point on will be going toward the Adolescent Medicine ward phase of Make Room for Kids.

I’m so excited to know that this little project we started will continue to put smiles on the faces of more of Pittsburgh’s sick children as they bravely fight whatever ails them.

You’ll be hearing more from me about this in the new year!

Much love to you all.


  1. BeauJacques
    December 16, 2010 10:21 pm

    Happy to! Great job! :-)

  2. jess
    December 16, 2010 10:23 pm

    Congrats! This is fantastic news. :)

  3. SpudMom
    December 16, 2010 10:24 pm


    A few months back, a friend of mine’s baby daughter went through hell and back with a liver transplant (not here in Pittsburgh, another city). I now have a greater appreciation of what the families of these children go through during this process and how much time they spend at the hospital. Thank you for how hard you work on this.

  4. BeauJacques
    December 16, 2010 10:26 pm

    PS- I don’t often cough up coffee over the keyboard but this made me and I nominate it for Best Tweet 2010:

    JanePitt-Watching my daughter’s preschool Xmas show. She’s onstage eating her boogers. I’m so proud.
    about 10 hours ago via Twitter for Android

  5. Jennifer Carota
    December 16, 2010 10:28 pm

    Finally some GREAT news! Thanks for the update and keep us in the loop on how we can continue to help!

  6. Jim
    December 16, 2010 10:29 pm

    Christmas boogers are the best.

  7. Nancy Berk
    December 16, 2010 10:31 pm

    Amazing news! You are a wonderful force in the ‘burgh and beyond…

  8. CarolineFB
    December 16, 2010 10:35 pm

    You rock girl! Go on with your bad self! Keep making awesome things happen for sick kids! WOOHOO!

    Remember, it’s Pittsburgh. All you have to do is ask. :D

  9. Jonathan
    December 16, 2010 10:57 pm

    Congratulations! You deserved this great news. You and Mike are doing an extraordinary thing in bringing joy to these children and their families. Much love to you both.

  10. rebelliousflaw
    December 16, 2010 11:05 pm

    That’s AWESOME! You truly are an amazing person. And, it’s wonderful to see how this has grown.

  11. Allison
    December 16, 2010 11:20 pm

    Awesome, awesome news.

    Let me know if there is anything I can do to help now that I’m working there. 9b (the hematology/oncology unit) is truly a remarkable place. One of the nurses on orientation with me is there now. I spent my pediatric rotation in nursing school on 9a, too.

    Seriously awesome. You rock.

  12. bluzdude
    December 17, 2010 12:59 am

    I’m in, when you fire it up next year.

    This is why you’re a big deal. I’m so glad that stalking you at Podcamp has proved not to be a waste of time.

    Happy Continued Hiatus.

  13. Christina
    December 17, 2010 4:24 am

    That makes the Mario Lemieux Foundation shirt I just ordered to wear it to my Pens game in February in a way to a “Make Room 4 Kids” T-Shirt – AWESOME!

    Congratualtions! That is a great next step which will make to help lots of kids and make a difficult time for them much easier. Wonderful!

    I hope that is only the beginning of a loooong lucky streak.

    Merry Christmas


  14. Cassie
    December 17, 2010 7:25 am

    Awesome! MLF is an amazing charity. I rock my MLF license plate on my car. Woot!

    Yay for helping sick kids!

  15. Allison
    December 17, 2010 7:28 am

    I just tried to click on the link to donate, and an odd Paypal message popped up saying the link didn’t exist. I tried to back-door it through MR4K on the MLF site but there wasn’t a donate button there either. Is it just me or is there a problem with the link?

  16. Just A Simple Man
    December 17, 2010 8:43 am

    Kudos to you and the ML Foundation!

  17. Virginia
    December 17, 2010 9:06 am

    Allison, all fixed. ;)

  18. Dan (Not Onorato)
    December 17, 2010 10:12 am

    Thats great news. Congrats!

    Merry Christmas and Have a great 2011!

    Happy Hiatus!

  19. Danielle
    December 17, 2010 11:07 am

    Congratulations! This is an amazing accomplishment only possible through your hard work and endless cheerleading.

  20. lisa
    December 17, 2010 11:34 am

    Honestly you so rock. Thank you

  21. Alexander Mikhailovich Ovechkin
    December 17, 2010 12:35 pm

    Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus… and you are one of his biggest helpers!

  22. Magnus Patris
    December 17, 2010 12:37 pm

    Bleach! Can’t believe I just signed that last post from the Kraken!

  23. Sheila
    December 17, 2010 12:41 pm

    Congrats! Wonderful news!! We have a friend who’s daughter has been waiting for a transplant for 9 years and she finally received her transplant a few weeks ago. She’s still in ICU but hopefully will be able to take advantage of the games soon! Her mom chronicles her fight here

  24. Angry Mongo
    December 17, 2010 1:12 pm

    Congratulations. Normally, I get all worried and antsy when things that are this good change hands and become larger entities. But, being that you’re still involved and it bears the name of Mario Lemieux I think it will be ok.

  25. John Franco
    December 17, 2010 5:35 pm

    Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia :)

  26. Me
    December 17, 2010 6:24 pm

    John Franco FTW!!

    Really — what serendipity that his brilliant turn-of-phrase fits!

  27. KGC
    December 17, 2010 7:04 pm

    A worthy cause. I’m in for a few $$.

    I thought about making a wager on you coming out of your hiatus and posting based on days (over/under). Next time I’ll have to think of a wager based on hours.. maybe, minutes. :)

  28. Beatrice
    December 18, 2010 3:02 pm

    This seems like an appropriate and very positive transition. Great work!

  29. Pens Fan
    December 18, 2010 6:33 pm

    Amazing and great news. It is amazing to see what your readers, MLF, and Microsoft has been able to do to help these kids. Please keep us posted as what we can do to help……

  30. Sooska
    December 19, 2010 10:24 am

    Awesome, Ginny! Great decision. People don’t know what the smallest idea may grow into. *wink and a nod*

  31. RN
    December 20, 2010 12:57 am

    I used to work on 9A. They can definitely use all of the video games and other media equipment they can get there. What an awesome gift you’re giving! I’m looking forward to making my donation.

  32. Xena
    December 23, 2010 6:39 pm

    Ginny, Just been thinking about you, praying for you and your family, and hoping things will be better in the New Year.

  33. Shari
    January 3, 2011 3:52 pm

    I will not sit at home and wait for my “boyfriend”. I’ll go out with my friends and have fun without him.