WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon and Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative Paul Levesque donated $1 million to open a new suite at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
McMahon and Levesque were on-hand Thursday, March 21, to cut the ribbon for the MIBG Therapy Suite, which was established to treat high-risk neuroblastoma. They personally donated $1 million in May 2018 to fund the suite.
In 2014, WWE created Connor’s Cure, a fund in honor of Connor Michalek, an 8-year-old WWE fan, to raise funds for pediatric cancer research to benefit UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. WWE supports Connor’s Cure through the V Foundation grant-making process.
Levesque said that his focus with the donation was to raise awareness.
“The biggest thing we can do is spread the word,” Levesque said. “The thing that impacted us the most when we met Connor was how little is done for kids. That doesn’t change until everybody is involved. Few people can make that difference. Everybody has to make that difference. Everybody has to hear that message. Everybody has to hear those words. Everybody has to understand what is needed to make that change.
“So instead of thanking, please go out, spread the word. Tell as many people as you can. Get them to go out there, get engaged and make a difference. Like [Dr. Jean Tersak, M.D.] said, we won’t stop until it’s 100 percent.”
Stephanie added that Connor inspired her and her husband to do something more, which led to the creation of Connor’s Cure.
The relationship between WWE and the hospital grew over the years, and McMahon joined the board for the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, where she learned more about the need for funding for pediatric cancer research.
“Currently, only 4 percent of all money from the government spent on cancer treatment goes to pediatrics,” WWE’s Chief Brand Officer said. “There have only been 10 drugs in the past 40 years developed for kids with cancer, and those kids are given the same dosages that adults are given because there is just not enough known.”
McMahon and WWE Superstars have visited the hospital many times in the five years since the creation of Connor’s Cure.
Stephanie praised the hospital staff, from Dr. Tersak to Connor’s favorite nurse, Stacy, who McMahon ran into before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Thank you for your tireless efforts, for never giving up, for constantly searching for ways to help these kids in all of their illnesses,” McMahon said. “This is a phenomenal hospital that we are proud to partner with.”
Both McMahon and Levesque emphasized that their work is not over.
Levesque urged everyone in attendance to spread the word to make sure everyone worked toward eliminating pediatric cancer, and he thanked the child who made this partnership happen.
“If there’s anybody that I’d like to thank, it’s right here. Thank you for the courage to be here. Spread your message so that others will spread that word. Thank you and thank you for Connor. He was the light that made that possible. He’s why we’re here.”