Mario Lemieux Foundation makes $5 million donation toward cancer treatment

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NEWARK, N.J. -- The Mario Lemieux Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary — and did so in a big way Tuesday.

In a video posted to Twitter, foundation President Tom Grealish announced a $5 million donation to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center to establish the Mario Lemieux Immunotherapy Center.

“Our foundation has thought for some time that this is the treatment of the future,” Mr. Grealish said. “This is the best kind of cancer treatment that is going to be available to more and more patients, and the Mario Lemieux Foundation has always been about trying to find cutting-edge research and treatment.

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“We think that’s not only going to help patients in Pittsburgh, but we think Pittsburgh is going to be this beacon of hope. People will be coming from all over the United States to get treatment at this center.”

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The Penguins will celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the Mario Lemieux Foundation at Thursday’s home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Mr. Lemieux, the team’s co-owner, will drop the puck for a ceremonial faceoff. He’ll also sign a jersey as part of a charity auction.

The Penguins’ traditional in-game auction will benefit the Mario Lemieux Foundation, in addition to unique auction items available at www.mariolemieux.org.

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Guests in suites — including those donated by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — will be patients from UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center, as well as survivors and patients from the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers and the Mario Lemieux Lymphoma Center for Children and Young Adults.

There will also be a new Mario Mosaic unveiled in the Highmark lobby.

The Mario Lemieux Foundation was created in 1993 by Mr. Lemieux and his wife, Nathalie, after his recovery from Hodgkin’s disease. It has donated nearly $25 million to various programs and built 36 Austin’s Playrooms for children and families in challenging medical situations.

The video closes with an inspirational story.

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Michael McKeever was diagnosed with Stage IV lung and brain cancer on Dec. 4, 2014 and received treatment at the Hillman Cancer Center.

“Here we are, four years later, and it is absolutely the wave of the future,” Mr. McKeever said. “For Mario to donate to this and keep this going for years and years save so many lives, it’s really unbelievable.”

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edward johnson 19 hours ago
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Rebuilding time? This team has fallen and can't get up. Just watched Sabres beat the Lightning. Seems everyone's going in the right direction except this team.
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Mario Lemieux stands next to the Mario Lemieux Foundation mosaic in Consol Energy Center when it was dedicated in 2010  
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