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Sewickley eatery offers tailgaters chance to help treat ailing children

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

While tailgaters at Sharp Edge Bistro watch the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, they will be helping needy children receive medical care.

The event, to be held at 2 p.m. at the Sewickley eatery, 510 Beaver St., rear, is part of Howard Hanna's 25th yearly Chow Chow campaign to raise money for the Children's Hospital Free Care Fund.

The event, hosted by the Sewickley Howard Hanna office, will feature a gourmet tailgate buffet, drinks, live musical entertainment and the football game, which begins at 4:05 p.m.

The Lost Boys, a Sewickley band, will provide entertainment beginning at 2 p.m. Raffles for cash, lottery tickets, a wheelbarrow of cheer — filled with alcohol — a football squares pool and other items will be featured.

Debbie Donahue, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services director of public relations, said every year, a companywide raffle is held. Tickets will be for sale at all Chow Chow events and at all 149 Howard Hanna offices in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, New York and West Virginia.

This year, the winner will receive $15,000 cash. The drawing will be held Dec. 20.

Jennifer Markus, a Sewickley Howard Hanna Realtor, said last year — her first year as chairwoman — the Sewickley office raised more than $7,000 for the Children's Hospital Free Care Fund with a tailgate party at the Sewickley Hotel. This year, the goal is $10,000.

She said there have been Chow Chow events in Sewickley since the beginning of the campaign. The Sewickley office also raises money from raffles on Light Up Night.

The Free Care Fund pays for medical care for children whose families can't afford it.

Howard Hanna partners with 11 children's hospitals in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, including Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Last year, $760,000 was raised. Since the first year of the campaign, 1988, more than $8.3 million has been raised.

Donahue said about 100 Chow Chow events are being held this year through Christmas throughout the Pittsburgh region, in Erie, in Harrisburg, in northeastern Ohio and in Ann Arbor, Mich.

All Chow Chow events are listed on www.howardhanna.com/events or www.facebook.com/howardhannachildrensfreecarefund.

The events were named Choo Choo Chow Chow when the first fundraising holiday luncheons were held at Howard Hanna offices to go along with the Hanna “Choo Choo” that went from office to office for each luncheon, like a train making stops, Donahue said.

Chow Chow events have evolved into other fundraisers, such as wine tastings, dinners, tailgates, Saturday breakfasts, home tours, 5K races and golf outings.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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