Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's Free Care Fund ensures that all patients receive the outstanding medical care they need, regardless of their families' ability to pay. For almost thirty years, shoeshiner Albert Lexie has traveled by bus twice a week from his hometown of Monessen, Pennsylvania, to Children's to shine shoes-and then donate his tips to the Free Care Fund.
Over the years, Albert has been honored by numerous organizations, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the organization's Western Pennsylvania Chapter in 2001; a 1997 Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Citizen; a 2006 National Caring Award by the Caring Institute, with induction into the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans; and the Foundation for a Better Life. In 1999, his hometown celebrated ''Albert Lexie Day,'' and the Port Authority of Allegheny County awarded him a lifetime bus pass.
For Albert, the accolades mean only that more people become aware of Children's Hospital's commitment to providing free and uncompensated care to families in need.
When asked why he is so committed to donating to Children's Free Care Fund, Albert says, ''I have many kids. I love my kids. It's important to help my kids.''