Supporters of Lending Hearts decided to ‘swing’ into action for the organization’s golf fundraiser on Wednesday, September 14th.   Local golfers joined event chair, Philip (Tris) Coffin of Marthinsen & Salvitti Insurance Group, at Upper St. Clair Country Club for the Lending Hearts to Kids Golf Invitational.  The event was a full day of fun for participants while they “teed up” a very important mission – providing emotional and social support to children and young adults with cancer and their families.

“According to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 9000 children are seen each year in the oncology department,” said Lending Hearts Founder & Executive Director, Vasso Paliouras. “These children are our future and they deserve an organization of their own that helps to provide a social outlet for them outside of the hospital.”

Lending Hearts provides just that, acting as a springboard for creating new friendships, moral support and camaraderie with other children and families going through the same difficult experiences. The organization provides family monthly activities free of charge centered on arts, culture, health, wellness & education, in partnership with many popular local companies and agencies. The Lending Hearts tag line, “enhancing, enriching, embracing the lives of kids with cancer” is achieved by ‘lending hands’ that “lend their heart” to create memorable experiences, new friendships and most importantly, a sense of normalcy for these children and their families.

Lending hearts continues to grow and provide more events that are fun, cultural and educational for our children friends,” said Tris.  “We could not do this without the help of sponsors such as those participating in our golf event. We are very pleased and honored to have the support of so many new and return corporate sponsors and foursomes in this year’s golf invitational.”

Golfers enjoyed a shotgun start at one pm and eighteen holes on Upper St. Clair’s magnificent championship course with a boxed lunch.  Highlights included a closest-to-the-pin competition and a hole-in-one competition on one of the Par 3 holes.  The hole-in-one winner had their choice of a free two-year lease on a BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar from Bobby Rahal Automotive.

After golf,  guests gathered for hors d’oeuvres and had the opportunity to bid on sports memorabilia in a silent auction before enjoying a dinner of  prime beef tenderloin, herb roasted baby lamb chops, and pasta penne with garlic and grated parmesan. Evening festivities included the awarding of skill prizes and a brief program featuring a new Lending Hearts Family, The Harris Family, as keynote speakers.

“A beautiful afternoon of golf provides months of hope and joy to our Lending Hearts youth,” said Vasso.  “We are extremely grateful for the support we have received for this second annual Lending Hearts to Kids Golf Invitational.  This event allows us to provide emotional and social support through our monthly family activities, Art Expression and Yoga as well as plan and expand programming efforts.  We are thankful to all of our golfers, supporters, board members and volunteers for lending their hearts to make this a very special event!”

Mark your calendar now to join Lending Hearts for their Kids Take Flight For Childhood Cancer presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield on September 25th.  The event will be held from noon until three pm at Shady Side Academy Athletic Field.  Join WPXI-TV’s Cara Sapida and WPXI-TV meteorologist Valerie Smock for some hands-on-fun and friendly kite competition, rain or shine.  For more information, visit Lending Hearts website at