PITTSBURGH — September 23, 2014 — The Mario Lemieux Foundation announced today the opening of an Austin’s Playroom at the Allegheny Health Network Health + Wellness Pavilion in Wexford. The playroom will serve tens of thousands of residents in the North Hills of Pittsburgh and beyond.

Nathalie Lemieux and her son Austin were on hand for the celebration. “We are so pleased to open the 30th Austin’s Playroom.” said Nathalie Lemieux. “Our goal is to reach as many people as possible, and we are thrilled to bring Austin’s Playroom to the Health + Wellness Pavilion.”

Austin’s Playroom Project was established as a result of Nathalie and Mario Lemieux’s personal experience while caring for their 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.

The Health + Wellness Pavilion’s Austin’s Playroom was established by a generous donation from the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association. “It is donations like the one from the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association that allow the Lemieux Foundation to continue to build playrooms throughout western Pennsylvania,” said Nancy Angus, Executive Director of the Mario Lemieux Foundation. “We are honored to have the support of the GPADA.”

John Putzier, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association and members of the Association’s Board of Directors were on hand for the dedication. Mr. Putzier stated that they were proud to be a part of making another Austin’s Playroom possible through the generosity of their dealers, sponsors, and the public who attends the Red CARpet Charity Premiere of the Pittsburgh International Auto Show.

The Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association is a metro dealer association representing over 200 franchised automobile and truck dealers and related industries in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, Westmoreland and other surrounding counties in western Pennsylvania. GPADA, founded in 1924 as a non-profit organization, encourages and promotes trade and commerce by providing and supporting various services, educational and training programs for the benefit of their membership.

Each Austin’s Playroom features comfortable child-sized furnishings, as well as games, toys, books, electronics, an aquarium and child-friendly artwork. Austin’s Playroom was uniquely and personally designed by Nathalie Lemieux and features a train table, wall-mounted games, sand table, and large screen TV, inside a brightly painted room. Nathalie Lemieux serves as Chair of Austin’s Playroom Project, and each room is called Austin’s Playroom.

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.