Leigh Dittman honored as Lightning Community Hero tonight versus Hurricanesby Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Leigh Dittman as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Dittman, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will contribute the money to her charity of choice, Shriners Hospital for Children.
Just 11 years old, Dittman suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare disease that causes the bones in the body to become very weak and brittle, while also stunting an individual’s proper growth. As a result of the sickness, Dittman has endured 29 broken bones and has also gone through seven surgeries to have metal rods inserted in her body for the purpose of straightening out her bones. In spite of all she has been through, however, Dittman continues to help others amidst the tough time she is going through herself.
For over eight years, Dittman has raised approximately $350,000 to benefit Shriners Hospital for Children. She has held a variety of fundraisers varying from raffles, both live and silent auctions, and more. Her mission is not only to help raise money, but to create awareness throughout the community about the significant impact that Shriners Hospital has had on the lives of children.
For her service, Dittman has been commended by numerous organizations throughout the Bay Area. In 2007, she was given the Kids Are Heroes trophy from St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa and earned a laudable distinction as the youngest person to be awarded the Service to Mankind Award from the Millennium Sertoma Club a year later. She then followed the accolades up with several more, including Young Hero of the Year, presented by Bay News 9 and Outback Steakhouse, and most recently, the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2011 Healthcare Philanthropist of the Year.