Immaculate’s Charitable Giving — UPMC & the MMRF

Immaculate’s Charitable Giving — UPMC & the MMRF

  • 21 October, 2022
  • Ray Hartjen

One significant detail of Immaculate: How the Steelers Saved Pittsburgh that Tom and I are most proud of is its charitable fundraising component.

Immaculate is a passion project of Tom’s. He’s a native yinzer, born in Donora and raised in Pittsburgh. He’s as proud of his hometown, and its professional football team, as anyone.

Tom has long held the idea that the Steelers’ unprecedented success in the 1970s galvanized the city and the region to go through a painful deindustrialization transformation into the New Economy. For decades, he thought the story would make a great book.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center logo

He shared his book theme with friends and family, but life got in the way of him actually getting started with the story. Tom had choices to make, and he chose to invest his limited time with his family and to his career.

I’ve known Tom for a decade or so, and whenever talk went to professional football, he’d talk about his beloved Steelers. Sometimes, his book idea came up. Finally, in late 2020, during the holiday season in the midst of a pandemic, Tom once more spoke of the book, and this time, perhaps, one time too many.

I said, “If not now, when?” It’s been a bit of a motto of mine since I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a somewhat rare blood cancer, in March of 2019. 

Arrogantly believing I was the best writer that Tom knew, I told him I was going to start the book, although not quite right away. It was bowl season for college football, and the NFL playoffs would soon be underway. I mean, come on, my free time and weekends were going to be full of watching football, right?

So, I told Tom I would start after the Super Bowl.

In early February of 2021, we started writing the book. My deal with Tom was that I would start writing, and if ever it veered off course from his vision, well, I would stop. No harm, no foul.

Together, we never stopped until the book was finished.

Anyway, my contributions to the writing of Immaculate were a gift, from me to my friend. I wanted him to complete this passion project of his. And, I thought my contributions could well help that dream of his become realized.

Somewhere along the line, Tom, grateful for my gift to him, thought of a grand way to return a gift to me. He suggested that we donate all of our writers’ profits from whatever sales of the book we could muster to cancer-related charities. His gift to me, for which I’m grateful.

In talking it over, we decided a beneficiary should be the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Hillman Cancer Center. Additionally, a secondary beneficiary will be the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

We’re hoping Immaculate: How the Steelers Saved Pittsburgh is successful, and we’re pulling out all stops in promoting the book. We want readers to enjoy reading it — and sharing it — as much as Tom and I enjoyed writing it. And, if the book is successful, if it resonates enough with readers to be so fortunate to sell well, then we’ll be able to raise a significant amount of funds for two very worthy causes.

Thank you for reading this post. And, thank you for being part of the Immaculate community. Tom and I appreciate it, and it’s our sincere hope that the cancer patient and patient care giver communities will benefit from our stories.

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