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Skating for Little Hearts again a success |
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Skating for Little Hearts again a success

| Monday, April 3, 2017 11:00 p.m
Alex Thomas poses with former Penguins player Tyler Kennedy during a fundraiser for the Heart Institute of Children's Hospital on March 25, 2017, at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.
North Huntingdon resident Alex Thomas

A North Huntingdon woman for the third straight year helped put together an open-skating event that raised thousands of dollars for heart patients at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in Lawrenceville.

Rosemary Thomas, 43, came up with Skating for Little Hearts as a community service project for the Penguins Elite youth hockey team, of which her son is a member.

Thomas expects more than $35,000 to be raised from this year’s event, which was March 25 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry. Proceeds will go to the Heart Institute at Children’s.

By pledging at least $75, people could skate and bring three non-skating friends. There was a 50/50 raffle, as well as a silent auction that included autographed Penguins jerseys and an afternoon outdoors with former Penguins center Tyler Kennedy.

About 125 people participated.

Heart Institute Auxiliary member Karen Pesich worked with Thomas on the event.

“Rose is a dear friend of mine,” said Pesich of Mt. Lebanon. “She approached me in 2015 asking if there was a way her son Alexander’s hockey team could contribute.

“Rose and I organized the first Skating for Little Hearts event, and we have seen (it) grow quickly in attendance and in the amount of money raised.”

Alexander Thomas, 11, said he is proud of his mother and enjoys skating for a good cause.

Kennedy, an honorary co-chairman, said it is awesome what the charity means to a lot of kids. He said it was cool to watch mascots from various organizations join in.

Amy Rayman, associate director of corporate and community giving with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, said the event is unique.

“It’s an ice skating event and has some celebrity appeal,” she said. “While there are lots of walks or galas or cocktail parties that serve as fundraisers, (this) event is fun and different in its execution.”

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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