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Posted January 26, 2012
Tampa Bay Lightning Hero Award to Benefit ACH

Congratulations to 13-year-old Matt Baar, who received the Tampa Bay Lightning's Hero Award in recognition of his very successful  "Change for Change" program. He was recently honored at a Lightning game and received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program. Matt will divide the money among his charities of choice, All Children's Hospital and Children's Dream Fund.

When Matt learned that the Infusion Center at All Children's Hospital needed an additional Touch-2-Play game system for kids to use during their infusions, he immediately set to work to raise the funds. Matt designed "Change for Change" a fundraising campaign that asked members of the community to save their loose coins in empty bottles that Matt designed.  Matt, through coordinating efforts with family and friends, in just a few months reached his goal of raising in excess of $3,000 for his "Change for Change" program. 

Matt knows what the Touch-2-Play means to these children because his brother is one of them. Matt's 10-year-old brother, Joey, has received chemotherapy infusions for the past three years while battling leukemia. At Joey's monthly visits, Matt would ask to come along and sit by Joey in the infusion bay, playing games with him to help pass the time. That there are not enough game systems for all of the children to use seems unfair to Matt, so he took action to change that reality.

"We are deeply touched and honored by Matt's gift to the ACH Infusion Center," said members of the Infusion Center staff. "It is truly amazing that this all started with an extraordinary young man and his love for his brother. Many patients will benefit from the ability to enjoy playing games on the Touch-2-Play game system while receiving their infusions."

Since Joey also spent a significant amount of time in our Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center Unit, the additional funds will be used to enhance the patient experience for kids who are patients on that unit.

Watch the Tampa Bay Lightning Hero Award Presentation