Pittsburgh Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle‘s Wins for Kids 2017 campaign raises funds for two important children’s programs – one that hits very close to home

Pittsburgh Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle is known for his daily inspirational emails, which he signs “Make a difference today, Love Clint.” For the sixth year in Pittsburgh, Hurdle, and wife Karla, launched their Wins for Kids campaign, which makes it easy for Pirates fans to make a difference in the lives of  children across Pittsburgh.

Wins for Kids allows fans to make a one-time donation or a monetary pledge for each Pirates win – and receive great swag in return. The donated funds are split equally between Pirates Charities and the Prader-Willi Syndrome Program at the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh.

The campaign, in conjunction with Root Sports Pittsburgh, has raised over $360,000 in its history in Pittsburgh.

“My wife and I are completely humbled by the number,” Hurdle said recently. “It’s $360,000 that was in pockets – people have just given from the goodness of their hearts and the kindness of their hearts and wanted to make a difference for other people. And they have impacted so many other families.”

One of those families is the Hurdles themselves. Their daughter, Maddie, has Prader-Willi Syndrome.

A Personal Connection

Prader-Willi Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder affecting appetite, growth, metabolism, cognitive function and behavior, according to the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association USA. The trademark characteristic of the disorder is an insatiable hunger, coupled with slow metabolism that can lead to excessive eating and obesity, although people with PWS also may have low muscle tone, short stature, incomplete sexual development, cognitive disabilities and behavioral problems. The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh’s Center for Prader-Willi Syndrome is renowned for its care of children with the disorder.

Hurdle’s relationship with the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh began in 2004, some six years before he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates. Maddie was around two-years-old at the time, he said.

“I’d heard about the Institute, it was the one place that had an in-patient program, the only place in the world, they would bring a kid in for up to six weeks and help them re-establish their nutritional goals, their psychiatric goals, their behavioral goals,” he explained. He was curious as to how they ran such a successful program that offered support for not just patients, but families too. “So, I started hanging out,” he said.

Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle with daughter Maddie at a Pirates Spring Training event in February.

He met the doctors, clinicians, behavioral and psychiatric specialists and support staff. And then came the opportunity to join the Pittsburgh Pirates and work even more closely with the organization.

The Hurdles’ fundraising  (through Wins for Kids and other efforts) has helped transform the floor where much of the Prader-Willi Syndrome Program is based at CIP.

Services for the Whole Family

“[Wins for Kids and] Pirates Charities funding allowed us to renovate our Prader-Willi unit and utilize the latest architectural technology to maximize comfort, security and treatment results. The new space includes the Pirates Charities Gym that contains all new, state-of-the-art therapy equipment – a substantial contributor to patient progress,” said Vice President, Institutional Advancement at the Children’s Institute Helene Conway-Long. “Pirates Charities funding also enables us to provide ongoing professional development and training for our team of expert medical professionals.”

Aside from using the services to provide on-going treatment for Maddie, Clint and Karla seek the advice of specialists and professionals at the Children’s Institute. Their son, Christian, has also visited the CIP for help facing “the challenges that can be presented to a sibling of a special needs child,” Hurdle said. The services provided to his family have been “far-reaching and very impactful,” he added.

While the Prader-Willi Syndrome Program is undergoing personnel changes that have paused their in-patient program, Hurdle said that the goals for the Wins for Kids program for both Pirates Charities and the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh remain as they always have.

“Karla and I, our goal every year is to just do the best we can with what we got where we are. The people of Pittsburgh, the fans of Pittsburgh, they’ve been givers in so many different ways to help fund this program, to help make a difference specifically for the Children’s Institute and the other programs that are funded locally,” He said. “We’re touched in a very special and significant way by the fan base of Pittsburgh and everybody who’s contributed to the Wins for Kids Program.”

Contributors to the Wins for Kids Campaign receive:

One-time gift of $35 or more – A “Make a Difference Today” stainless steel water bottle imprinted with Hurdle’s signature

Pledge of $1 for every Pirates win during the 2017 season – Water bottle and baseball autographed by Hurdle

Pledge of $5 for every Pirates win during the 2017 season – Water bottle, baseball autographed by Hurdle and bat autographed by a current Pittsburgh Pirates player or coach of your choice (dependent on availability)

Contributions exceeding $1,000 or more (one-time donation or pledge per Pirates win) – Water bottle, baseball autographed by Hurdle, bat autographed by a current Pittsburgh Pirates player or coach of your choice (dependent on availability) and a meet and greet with Hurdle prior to a 2018 Pirates game at PNC Park.

As with all campaigns, some restrictions apply – for full details, more information or to make a donation, click here.

About CIP and Pirates Charities

Aside from assisting pediatric patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome and their families, the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh is the only CARF-accredited free-standing pediatric specialty rehabilitation hospital in the region, and one of only five in the nation. For more information, click here.

Formed in 2006 as the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pirates Charities places a special emphasis on supporting youth programs focused on health, fitness, and education by developing partnerships with those who share that mission. For more information, click here.

 

Cover photo Courtesy the Pittsburgh Pirates

 

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Joy Frank-Collins

Joy Frank-Collins is a Communications professional who got her start writing as a journalist at a daily newspaper in southeastern Ohio. She was born in Reds country, but "found" baseball watching the 1986 Mets win the World Series. She lives in Marietta, Ohio, with her family, who all share her passion for Pirates baseball. She loves the suicide squeeze, a crisp 6-4-3 double play and catchers (especially Russell Martin). When not obsessing over baseball, Joy likes to work out, travel and drink wine. Check her out on Instagram @JoyFC
  • Tom Bux

    I should have done this last year when they were giving bubble gum away.