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Anniversary of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC prompts fundraising push

| Saturday, May 30, 2015, 11:02 p.m.

From a musical therapy program to a new MRI scanner, private gifts help pay for high-end technology and thoughtful touches at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, said Dr. Steven Docimo, its chief medical officer.

Now that Children's is turning 125, the hospital and its charitable foundation will build on the momentum and start a fundraising campaign.

“We could survive without philanthropy; we couldn't do the things that make Children's Hospital special,” Docimo said.

The nonprofit hospital has public and private gatherings planned, with an initial internal event scheduled for Thursday. A public gala, led by the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, is set for Oct. 2 in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

An anniversary culmination event is in the works for June 2016.

Hospital and foundation leaders did not disclose a fundraising goal for the yearlong celebration, which is meant to drum up community support and raise money for patient care and research.

The foundation contributes more than $18 million a year to support the hospital and its patients. That includes the Free Care Fund, which helps the hospital care for children regardless of whether their families can pay.

The KDKA Free Care Fund Benefit Show, an annual telethon held in December, raises about $2 million a year.

In the meantime, a traveling video booth dubbed the “Giving Booth” will tour the region. Visitors will have a chance to record childhood memories and personal stories about the hospital. The booth will be at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Three Rivers Regatta and Pittsburgh Pirates games.

“There's such a connection between the hospital and the Pittsburgh community,” Docimo said. “We really want to highlight and enhance that over the coming year.”

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