Play It Forward

For the past five months, Steelers’ part owners Rob and Cindy Citrone have been leading Play It Forward Pittsburgh: a city-wide coalition to establish Pittsburgh as the national leader in organ donation, change policies surrounding the issue, and raise funds for the Starzl Center for Pediatric Transplantation Excellence.

Pittsburgh is known as the home of champion sports teams—but many don’t realize it’s also home to some of the most renowned organ transplant centers in the world. The “city of champions” has paved modern organ transplantation research for decades, and now it’s transforming the way residents across Allegheny County view organ donation.

For the first time, the city’s three major sports franchises—Steelers, Penguins and Pirates—have joined forces with Pittsburgh’s biggest names in business, medicine and education to get every eligible resident registered as organ donors. The campaign has reached more than 200,000 people through high-profile events around the city, and used the digital and broadcast capacity of more than 25 local partners to reach more than five million people about the importance of organ donor registration. But some of the work is just beginning.

Funds raised during the Play It Forward Pittsburgh campaign will support the establishment of the new Starzl Pediatric Transplant Outcomes Network in partnership with Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Starzl Pediatric Transplant Outcomes Network

Pittsburgh wants to share the benefits of its world-leading transplant centers so that all children have access to the same quality of transplantation care—no matter their zip code. The Starzl Pediatric Transplant Outcomes Network will begin by uniting pediatric liver transplant centers around the country that are focused on collaboration and developing best practices.

The Starzl network will embrace innovation and take advantage of Pittsburgh’s concentration of landmark universities, medical, tech and entrepreneurial institutions. Pitt, CMU, Google, Facebook and UPMC Enterprises are committed as partners to help improve transplantation by exploring gene sequencing, psychology, wearable health devices and new, unexplored concepts. A component of the Starzl Network will be a high-profile “solutions hack-a-thon” in collaboration with the Pittsburgh region’s abundant tech and entrepreneurial institutions.

Look out for more ways you can help the Starzl network at playitforwardpgh.org.