Special delivery: Toys arrive at Butler Memorial

| Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, 7:04 p.m.

Butler Memorial Hospital got a holiday delivery on Tuesday.

The Penn Township Volunteer Fire Department delivered more than 250 donated toys. They'll go in Austin's Playroom, a play area for children visiting sick family members, and to Butler Memorial's Family Services Department, which will use them in therapy.

“This is a great effort. It helps to benefit so many families who are visiting the hospital and children who need services in Butler County,” said Connie Downs, a hospital spokeswoman.

People donated the toys, which the fire department and Butler Media Group collected at locations around the county.

About 40 children attended Tuesday's toy distribution and mingled with Santa, who arrived by helicopter, while Mrs. Claus and a friendly elf came by fire truck.

The Mario Lemieux Foundation created Austin's Playroom Project after the premature birth of Nathalie and Mario Lemieux's son, Austin, who spent 71 days in a neonatal intensive care unit. While his parents cared for him, there was nothing at the hospital to entertain Austin's sisters, toddlers at the time.

The foundation began making donations so that playrooms could be built in area hospitals.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or rwills@tribweb.com.

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