PITTSBURGH — May 15, 2014 — Nathalie Lemieux, wife of NHL Hall of Famer and Pittsburgh Penguin’s owner, Mario Lemieux, hosted the annual Austin’s Playroom Project Luncheon and Fundraiser earlier today at the Fairmont, Pittsburgh.  Over 350 ladies were in attendance at the luncheon which raises funds to support Austin’s Playroom Project, an initiative of the Mario Lemieux Foundation.  A total of 29 playrooms have been established since 2000, with an additional five playrooms either planned or under construction.  Funds raised from the 2014 event will be directed towards a new Austin’s Playroom at UPMC Altoona. 

Austin’s Playroom Project was created as a result of Nathalie and Mario Lemieux’s personal experience while caring for their premature infant son, Austin.  In 1996, Austin was born profoundly premature and spent 71 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  While they were caring for Austin, there was nothing to engage his sisters, who were both toddlers at the time.  It was then Mario and Nathalie realized a need for playrooms and began their plan to establish Austin’s Playroom Project.

Austin’s Playrooms are created to give kids a chance to be kids during an otherwise stressful time.  The playrooms allow families the ability to escape the burden of difficult or extended medical situations and focus on health and healing.

The Mario Lemieux Foundation was created in 1993 after hockey legend and NHL Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux survived Hodgkin’s disease.  The Lemieux Foundation is a 501(c)3  organization dedicated to raising funds for cancer research and patient care, as well as Austin’s Playroom Project. 

Photos available upon request.