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Mary Ann Saravanos honored as Lightning Community Hero

The Lightning honored Mary Ann Saravanos as the 26th Community Hero this season

by Jacob Lynn @TBLightning /

TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Mary Ann Saravanos as the 26th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Saravanos, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate to John Hopkins All Children's Hospital and the Greek Children's Fund of Florida.

For over nine years, Saravanos has dedicated her time assisting families facing financial devastation due to pediatric disease. Saravanos, the President of the Greek Children's Fund of Florida, helps to provide funds for medical equipment, medicine and food to families whose children are in the hospital. Saravanos has contributed over 5,000 volunteer hours visiting families at the hospital, wrapping holiday gifts for patients and advocating for families in need. Saravanos' commitment to the community has led to the fundraising of more than $260,000 for struggling families in the region.

In addition, the Greek Children's Fund of Florida partners with Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg to serve all children and their families receiving care at the hospital. The organization has a less than 24-hour turnaround response time to families who need support. Saravanos is available every day to serve families, working day and night for those who request assistance while their children are receiving medical treatment.

Saravanos becomes the 391st Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $19.70 million to more than 750 different nonprofits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. During the summer of 2016, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another $10 million over the next five seasons.

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