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Football calendar helps Children's Hospital

Credit: Anna Boyle/ Credit: Anna Boyle/

This fall, Carnegie Mellon University’s football team captain, Samer Abdelmoty, a senior mechanical engineering major, along with the rest of the team, joined the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to create a 2017 calendar. All profits from the calendar will go directly to the hospital.

Carnegie Mellon’s football team wanted to create a fundraiser that the team could start and continue as a tradition every year. “We have the Cindy Lackner Memorial game and fundraisers for breast cancer, but seeing that we do a lot with Team IMPACT, we figured it would be great to have an additional fundraiser for kids in the community,” Abdelmoty said. “The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh seemed like the perfect option!”

Team IMPACT is an organization that aims to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by matching them with intercollegiate athletic teams. Currently three of Carnegie Mellon’s athletic teams, including the football team, involve members from Team IMPACT in their program.

Carnegie Mellon’s connection with Team IMPACT began in 2014 when nine-year-old Brock Kitterman joined the Tartan family as an honorary captain of the football team. Kitterman attends many of the Tartan’s games and joins the other captains for the coin toss when he does.

The team’s relationship with Kitterman motivated them to choose a fundraiser which would benefit children. “The decision on a calendar kind of started as a joke with someone suggesting we do a type of speedo photoshoot and sell it to sororities,” Abdelmoty said. “Having the idea of the Children’s Hospital in the back of our mind though we decided to get the best of both worlds and have a fun photoshoot while also helping the kids.”
Abdelmoty coordinated with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s marketing team to choose patients and a venue for the photoshoot. Four patients and their families came to Gesling Stadium during pre-season in August to participate in the photoshoot.

“Honestly the planning phase was probably the most fun,” Abdelmoty said. “Each position group was given a month in the calendar for whatever theme they wanted, so it was great hearing the crazy ideas some of the guys had and the props they would incorporate. Then to see how much the kids enjoyed being apart of these crazy themes was a great sight to see.”

One of the patients from the photoshoot, seven year-old Mikey Witkowski, joined Team IMPACT after the photoshoot and also became an honorary captain of the Carnegie Mellon Football team. The team was excited to gain a new member. “We got a Team IMPACT player from it which is awesome,” Abdelmoty said. “If we can help kids enjoy a photoshoot and families can get calendars, I think that would be an awesome thing to leave as a legacy of this team.”

He added that “the biggest take-away from this project for me was realizing how great and tight-knit of a Carnegie Mellon community I’m a part of. No one at any point shot down the idea, the team was all willing to give up their time and effort for the shoot, and members of the Tartan community had no hesitation whatsoever in advertising the calendars or purchasing one for themselves to help out the cause.”

Calendars can be purchased for $10 from the Carnegie Mellon Athletics website.