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Past Honorees

Nearly every family, at one time or another, has been touched by cancer. Over the years, the message of Lending Hearts has connected with some of our most prominent neighbors, and we are honored to have recognized them for their contributions of hope and humanity to our wider community.

Dr. Stanley M. Marks, Chairman UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Lending Hearts Honoree

Dr. Stanley M. Marks

Chairman UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

A past president of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Dr. Marks has authored numerous publications and is the recipient of several awards, including the National Research Service Award from the United States Public Health Service.

Aaron Smith, former Pittsburgh Steeler, Lending Hearts Honoree

Aaron Smith

former Pittsburgh Steeler

Selected by the Steelers in the fourth round, Aaron played every game from 2000 through 2006. Then he persevered through several injuries later in his career and ended up with two Super Bowl rings.

James Connor, Arizona Cardinals and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Lending Hearts Honoree

James Conner

Arizona Cardinals

A former Pitt Panther and Pittsburgh Steeler running back, James won the hearts of fans with his grit and determination on the field and off. During his junior year in college, James was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, received treatment, and was declared cancer-free during the off-season.

Jameson Taillon, Chicago Cubs, Lending Hearts Honoree

Jameson Taillon

Chicago Cubs

Selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates as the second overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft, Jameson continues his impressive pitching career despite overcoming testicular cancer in 2017. He is currently living cancer-free and pitching for the Chicago Cubs.

Joe Manganiello, actor, Mt. Lebanon native and Carnegie Mellon graduate, Lending Hearts Honoree

Joe Manganiello


A Mt. Lebanon native and Carnegie Mellon graduate, Joe has proven to be one of the most versatile and successful actors in Hollywood. He has appeared in hit TV shows such as HBO’s True Blood and dozens of movies including Spider-Man and Magic Mike.

Cam Heyward, Pittsburgh Steeler, Lending Hearts Honoree

Cam Heyward

Pittsburgh Steelers

A Pittsburgh native and son of NFL great Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, Cam has achieved what will surely be a hall-of-fame career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning six Pro Bowls berths. In 2023, he received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award for his commitment to philanthropy and community impact.

Merril Hoge, former Pittsburgh Steeler, Lending Hearts Honoree

Merril Hoge

former Pittsburgh Steeler

A fan favorite during and after his playing days, Merril suited up for eight NFL seasons before going onto a successful broadcasting career.

Corey O’Connor, Allegheny County Controller, Lending Hearts Honoree

Corey O’Connor

Allegheny County Controller

Born in Pittsburgh, Corey has carried on the family tradition of service from his father, former mayor Bob O’Connor, who died from a rare brain cancer the year following his election. Corey has served as Allegheny County Controller since 2022.

Tyler Kenedy, former Pittsburgh Penguin and Brandi Kennedy, owner of Cookie Couture Clothing

Tyler & Brandi Kennedy

former Pittsburgh Penguin (Tyler) and business owner (Brandi)

Canadian-born Tyler fell in love with Pittsburgh and one of its daughters during his playing career with the Penguins. Now in addition to raising their three children, the couple run Tyler Kennedy Hockey while Brandi is founder/owner of Cookie Couture Clothing.

Bob Pompeani, KDKA, Lending Hearts Honoree

Bob Pompeani


An institution in local sports and broadcasting, Bob began his hall-of-fame career at KDKA in 1982. Over his 40+ year career, Bob has received the Golden Quill Award six times and won three Mid-Atlantic Emmy awards.

Neil Walker, former Pittsburgh Pirate, Lending Hearts Honoree

Neil Walker

former Pittsburgh Pirates

Drafted by his hometown Pirates in the first round of the 2004 MLB draft, Neil went onto a 12-year playing career before joining the Pirates broadcast team.

David Bednar, Pittsburgh Pirates, Lending Hearts Honoree

David Bednar

Pittsburgh Pirates

Nicknamed “the Renegade,” David has established himself as one of the preeminent MLB closers. Growing up in Mars, PA, David has joined a new generation of Pittsburgh-area athletes who are committed to giving back to their community.

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