Local Philanthropists Create, Launch “Play It Forward Pittsburgh” Campaign and Network to Improve Pediatric Transplantation with Multi-million Dollar Commitment

Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Manganiello & others kick off Play It Forward Pittsburgh organ donation campaign

As a part of their ‘Play It Forward Pittsburgh’ campaign, Steelers part-owners Cindy and Rob Citrone announced $2 million gift to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh plus $1 million matching challenge to launch revolutionary network to improve pediatric transplant outcomes for patients around the world.

Cindy and Rob Citrone, both Pittsburgh area natives and part-owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers, became interested in the topic of organ donation when Rob’s father got sick, needed a new kidney and was put on the waitlist. The family quickly discovered how complicated, stressful and heart-wrenching the waitlist process is for transplant patients and their loved ones and they wanted to do what they could to change it.

The Citrones launched Play It Forward Pittsburgh in partnership with the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, and soon added more than thirty other local and national organizations to their list of campaign supporters and partners, including the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Children’s Hospital Foundation and health giants Highmark and UPMC.

While the campaign’s primary goal is to increase the number of registered organ donors in Pittsburgh (Allegheny County’s organ donor registration rate is about 10% below the national average), the Citrones know that revolutionary, lifesaving breakthroughs in transplantation medicine can only be achieved through additional research. They’ve also committed $2 million to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and agreed to match another $1 million in donations to establish the Starzl Network for Pediatric Transplantation Excellence. Led by the pediatric surgery team at Children’s and named in honor of the late Dr. Thomas Starzl (“father of modern transplantation”), the Network will link pediatric liver transplant centers across the country in order to develop and share best practices, patient outcomes data, and research across the spectrum of transplantation. The Starzl Network will also host a high-profile “hack-a-thon” in 2018 in collaboration with the Pittsburgh region’s abundant tech and entrepreneurial institutions and with a…

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