65th Annual KDKA Free Care Fund Benefit Show Celebrates Milestone Year Raising Over $1.7 Million for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation

December 21, 2018

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation announced during the 65th Annual Free Care Fund Benefit Show that it raised over $1.7 million in donations to support the Free Care Fund at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

The live broadcast was held on Thursday, Dec. 13, at UPMC Children’s Hospital and at PPG Wintergarden in downtown Pittsburgh. The show was broadcast on KDKA-TV and on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

The milestone year was celebrated by honoring Albert Lexie, long-time shoeshiner at UPMC Children’s Hospital, who passed away this year. Throughout his life, Albert gave all his tips and spare change — more than $200,000 — to the Free Care Fund at UPMC Children's Hospital, so that every child could receive world-class medical care regardless of their ability to pay. Stephanie Davis, Lexie’s niece, represented the family and Dr. Joseph Carcillo, a pediatric critical care physician at UPMC Children’s, and a friend of the family, presented a check of over $6,000 that was raised in honor of Albert through donations at the hospital and in the community.

“This year was an incredibly special year, as we paid tribute to Albert Lexie, who embodied selfless giving and inspired millions not just from around our community but from around the world to give to Children’s, said Rachel Petrucelli, president, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. “It’s with this that we owe so much gratitude to Albert and all of our community partners who give each and every year to help us continue to provide exceptional care to our patients.”

This year’s event also included two junior hosts, both who are patients at UPMC Children’s. The junior hosts participated in live segments with Ken Rice and Heather Abraham, anchors at KDKA-TV, and were interviewed on the NewsRadio 1020 KDKA broadcast.

“As someone who has been treated at Children’s Hospital since I was a baby, I was excited to see so much kindness and selflessness from the community,” said Alaina Toplovich, a Heart Institute patient and junior co-host. “Serving as a junior host helped me learn that this region is full of good people with kind hearts.”

In addition to the junior hosts, the Pittsburgh Steelers were involved in “Holiday Hug”, a monthly giving program in its third year. The Steelers players will deliver a teddy bear to patients in the hospital for each donor who gave a monthly gift of $20 or more. Charlie Batch, former Steelers player, supported the Free Care Fund Benefit Show by answering phones during the live broadcast.

In 2017, more than 35,000 children benefited from the Free Care Fund at Children’s, totaling more than $22 million in free and uncompensated care provided.

The top corporate donors to this year’s Free Care Fund Benefit Show were Eat’n Park and Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

For more information about the Free Care Fund or to make a donation, visit Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation’s website at www.givetochildrens.org, or call 412-692-3900 or 1-877-CHP-GIVE.

Andrea Yorchuck (Kunicky)
Senior Manager