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September 05, 2008 - 25th Anniversary Family House POLO Sponsorship Party

What: Reception and Awards

Where: Hartwood Acres

When: September 5, 2008

Time: 7:00 PM

Presenting Sponsor(s): National City

Co-Chair(s): Bonnie Bagay, Erin Burger

Executive Director: Christie Knott

Committee Members: Victoria Berdnik, Lesley Bentzel Don Brown, David Bush, Gina Carlos, Joe Ciocca, Sharon Ciocca, Bruce Coleman, Carrie Conboy, Emily Craig, April Curley, Lisa Edmonds, Joan Ettinger, Holly E. Fajt, Jennifer Fusilli, Peter Germain, Ginny Gladstone, Erin Gleason, Kara Ionadi, Amy Joseph, Judy Krause, Laura Kronk, Becky Lahniche, Tammy Lawing, Robert Lee, Angela J. Longo, Ashlee Mauti, Kathy Mazzei, Joyce McCoy, David McHenry, Tim McVay, Roslyn Neiman, Christina O'Toole, Regina Parundik, Jacqueline Rizzo, Joanne Sarver, Peter H. Shaw, MD, Steve Shriber, Paul M. Singer, Maggsie H. Sliger, Jeannine Spinola, Nannette Staropoli, Connie Sukernek, Peter Sukernek, Lisa Sullivan, Kevin Thomas, Vicki Ulicny, Jeanne Vallano, Laura Varner-Norman, John Vella, Valerie Trott Williams, Gina M. Zumpella

President(s): Greg Troian

Sponsors: FIELD SPONSOR: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center PLATINUM MALLET SPONSORS: Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association TEAM SPONSORS: #1 Cochran, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services GOLD MALLET SPONSORS: Federated Investors, Inc., KDKA -TV 2, Hefren-Tillotson, Highmark, Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, UPMC Health Plan

Attendance: 150 + guests

Attire: Business

Blacktie Photos by: Jill M. Kummer

 25th Anniversary Family House Sponsorship Party with guests Erin Berger, Bonnie Bagay and Ann Clontz
25th Anniversary Family House Sponsorship Party with guests Erin Berger, Bonnie Bagay and Ann Clontz

25th Anniversary Family House Polo Match Sponsorship Party Friends and supporters gathered on September 5, 2008 at Hartwood Acres for a fabulous celebration of 25 years of Family House POLO. Sponsors and guests alike enjoyed marvelous foods and libations under a beautiful night sky. A special highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Family House Anniversary Award, presented to 25 year sponsor, Howard Hanna Real Estate. Howard Hanna is the only corporate partner that has contributed to this premier fundraiser for 25 consecutive years and continues to sponsor the Great Meadows Polo Club from Virginia. A Little Bit about Family House: You can feel it the minute you walk through the door. Family House is a place to find friends. Facing similar stressful situations, Family House guests compare notes, problems, and worries, in the process of forming invaluable bonds of strength and spirit. At Family House there is a deeply held belief that people in similar circumstances can help one another through the worst of times. The kitchen is the heart of Family House. It is a place of laughter, lively conversation and favorite family recipes. One guest called it “hallowed ground.” In the company of new friends, guests can cook whatever they want - as long as they clean up after themselves! Hundreds of dedicated volunteers contribute to the atmosphere of caring and support at Family House. Family House volunteers greet guests at the front door, deliver clean towels, and provide an "open ear," or a cup of coffee. Neighborhood bakeries often donate bagels and pastries. The local Italian grocery has been a source of emergency Italian translation, as well as gourmet specialties. Service clubs and church groups cook dinners and host parties. At Family House, guests form unbreakable bonds with one another. As former board chairman Ted Struk often says,"We will be friends forever." Pittsburgh's prominence as a major international medical center draws thousands of critically ill patients, from around the world, to the city. Under conditions of maximum stress, family members are usually forced to improvise living arrangements at hotels or apartments, sometimes even sleeping in hospital waiting rooms. Both the financial and the emotional costs of such accommodations can be devastating to patients as well as their families. Together, The Women's Auxiliary of the American Cancer Society and the University Health Center of Pittsburgh first conceived of Family House early in 1980. Oncology patients were often missing treatments because they lacked transportation to Pittsburgh and a place to stay once they had arrived. They also lacked the essential warmth and support of their families. Created with a community board and supported by hundreds of dedicated volunteers, Family House opened as Pittsburgh's home for families facing a medical crisis. In 23 years, more than 80,000 families have been guests, coming from every state in the nation, and every corner of the world. In November 1983, a small group of community leaders and doctors finally opened the doors of Family House. Observing countless family members sleeping in hospital corridors and waiting rooms for nights on end as their loved ones received medical care, they knew that something had to be done. They established a non-profit organization and raised enough money to refurbish a rundown Pittsburgh mansion on McKee Place, only blocks from Pittsburgh's hospital complex. Families of patients with life-threatening illnesses could stay in comfortable surroundings at very little expense. They could even cook their own meals in the communal kitchen to avoid the expense of eating out. Within two months of opening, the 39 rooms of McKee were constantly filled, and the waiting list was growing. In 1989, a second Family House was built nearby on North Neville Street offering 40 additional guest rooms. With a wide porch and big, cheerful windows, it looks like a lovingly restored Pittsburgh mansion, but it is actually a state-of-the-art inn, equipped to accommodate guests implanted with an artificial heart pump called Novacor. Family House was the first out-of-hospital facility to receive Federal Drug Administration approval to house patients on Novacor. As the years went by, Family House was continuously seeking additional guest accommodations. From 1991-1997, Family House operated a third facility, The Family House Inn, with 47 rooms in The Neese-Barkan Building. When that space was no longer available, Family House moved to a floor in Montefiore Hospital until 2001. At that time, Family House Shadyside opened its doors. Formerly the Marlin Arms Apartment Building, Family House Shadyside has 44 beautiful suites to comfortably accommodate families. What began as a small but compassionate enterprise has grown into an innovative, much-emulated model of family/patient support systems. In order to observe our facilities, planners from as far away as London and Brussels have visited Family House. Medical insurers have taken note of the significant savings in insurance dollars that Family House affords. The complete story of Family House is the human story -- the sum of many individual stories of compassion, insight, determination and generosity. The founders of Family House understood intuitively what later medical studies would confirm: critically ill patients who are surrounded by calm, comfortable families enjoy a better quality of life and have a more positive attitude toward their treatment than those without such support. The quality of life that guests enjoy at Family House is more than a kindness. It is a significant element in the treatment process itself. "Pittsburgh did it right," says William J. Copeland, retired vice chairman of Pittsburgh National Bank and the first Family House board chairman. "We could have raised the money and put people up in a hotel--other cities have done that. But we followed our hearts and created the right organization." For more information, please log onto our website at:

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