February 21, 2013 – The Mario Lemieux Foundation announced today the second Austin’s Military Playroom will be located at the new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in southern California. Completion of the project is scheduled for the spring of 2014.

The Austin’s Playroom will be approximately 1,000 square feet and located in the hub of the primary care services on the second floor of the new facility focused on family centered care and other outpatient services. Austin’s Military Playroom will be a valuable resource to the military families at Camp Pendleton. “We are proud to make this gift to establish a second Austin’s Military Playroom to help our nation’s service men and women and their families,” said Nathalie Lemieux, Chair of the Austin’s Playroom Project. “We saw the overwhelming need for playrooms in facilities like these when we established our first military playroom at Walter Reed, and we hope to bring the same joy to the Marines, sailors and families at Camp Pendleton.”

The first Austin’s Military Playroom was donated to the Warrior Transition Unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, in 2011. The success of this playroom prompted a continued relationship between the Mario Lemieux Foundation and the United States Navy. Austin’s Military Playroom Project is an initiative of the Mario Lemieux Foundation that creates playrooms for military personnel and their families. By joining forces with the US Navy, the Mario Lemieux Foundation creates playrooms that provide comfort, warmth and love for these very special families.

The Mario Lemieux Foundation created Austin’s Playroom Project following Nathalie and Mario Lemieux’s personal experience while caring for their profoundly premature infant son at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh. As they were tending to young Austin, there was no place, or no one, to engage the lively minds and provide a comfortable calming environment for his sisters. It was then that Nathalie devised this idea to someday raise funds and develop sibling and patient playrooms in medical facilities in the Pittsburgh region. As the project grew, Nathalie and Mario recognized how playrooms could also benefit the children of our veterans and active duty warriors.

Nathalie Lemieux serves as Chair of Austin’s Playroom Project, and each room is called Austin’s Playroom. As of February 2013, there are 27 playrooms and an additional six are committed.