Students Give Back with Layups for Lucy

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – Layups for Lucy is an annual event put on by students at Neshannock High School in New Castle, Pa., to raise money for UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. 

The fundraiser is named in memory of Lucy Beal, who died from a congenital heart disease, says Eliza Beal, one of her sisters. “My older sister, Grace, decided she wanted to do something to give back to Children’s Hospital” and its supportive care unit.

“During Lucy’s 11 months with us, the majority of her life was spent at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh,” Grace Beal says.

As their parents spent time with Lucy,  the hospital’s doctors and staff of the supportive care unit were there for the two siblings. The took the children to the hospital library, provided them with crafts and explained what was happening. 

“Whenever my sister was in the hospital, they were always very helpful,” Eliza Beal says.

“Eliza and I are forever grateful for how they supported us through the hardest months of our lives,” Grace adds. “Giving us love and attention while Lucy needed our mom and dad is why we choose to direct much of our donations to the supportive care unit.”

When she was in elementary school, Grace began raising money through small events, such as swimming laps, for items like blankets and books that she would donate to the hospital.

Layups for Lucy started in 2014.  

“I was in seventh-grade and a huge part of my time was spent playing basketball. After doing smaller fundraisers for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, I decided making basketball part of our next fundraiser was the perfect fit,” says Grace, now a sophomore at the University of Michigan.

That first year, her junior high basketball team shot layups after practice and raised nearly $6,000 from donations from family and friends. “After that year, I knew we could do more and I was excited to see what was next,” she says.

Layups for Lucy has grown to an annual community event, most recently taking place Oct. 16.

A committee of about 50 Neshannock High School students begins planning in the spring for the fundraiser. The main event is a basketball game pitting the students against faculty. This year it also included cheerleader performances, raffles and a photo booth.

Over the last eight years, Layups for Lucy has donated more than $180,000 to the hospital. The Beals’ mother, Corri Metz, who nominated Layups for Lucy for the Outstanding Young Philanthropists Award, describes the students’ efforts as an “incredible achievement” that reflects their commitment and the generosity found in New Castle.  

“Each year the event amazes me and reminds me how lucky I am to live in the community in which I live,” Grace says. “Being able to give to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, as well as other local families in need, is the best way to honor Lucy.”    

Pictured: Among those involved in the fundraising are, from Left: Eliza Beal, Gina Janiel, Raygan Quimby, Sam Ball, Leigha Quinn, Skylar Vansovich and Natalie Momne.