Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

A 9-year-old's Nonprofit is Still Giving Back 12 Years Later

Started by college student Conner Hagins when he was 9 years old, Cuddles for Kids strives to brighten up the lives of hospital patients with toys, treats and special events.



(page 2 of 2)

 Hagins also recently teamed up with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation to donate and sell Pillow Pets. His organization even has created scholarships for Pittsburgh-area high school students who, like him, are making a difference in their community.

Eleanor Reigel, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh and Morgantown, speaks glowingly of Cuddles for Kids. Last year, proceeds from a fundraiser Hagins organized at LaRoche were used to buy toiletries that were placed in welcome bags given to families staying at Ronald McDonald House. Another Cuddles for Kids drive provided toys for the Toy Forest, a room filled with toys for Ronald McDonald House guest families and their children.

“It’s the little things [Conner] does that make a huge, huge difference to our families,” Reigel says.

Cuddles for Kids also has won the hearts of a number of Penguins and Steelers players and their significant others. The Moats family are frequent Cuddles volunteers, as is Pens winger Bryan Rust and his fiancée, Kelsey Burton. KDKA traffic anchor and PensTV host Celina Pompeani is another notable fan who has volunteered with the organization.

Burton says she felt an instant connection with Hagins, who reached out to her on social media. “It’s inspiring how dedicated [Hagins] is to helping others. You don’t see that all the time with people his age,” Burton says. “It’s something that really stood out to Bryan and I. We couldn’t be any more happy to work alongside Conner at these events. He has the biggest heart of gold.”

Leo, though, may be Hagins’ biggest fan. The now 7-year-old has twice served as honorary captain of the LaRoche men’s soccer team, which Hagins was a member of until his senior year.
 

“It was so great. Leo was able to walk out with Conner and go out and warm up with them,” Zambori says. “It was really awesome to see them out there, side by side.”

Hagins and his family make sure to visit Leo, who hails from St. Martin’s, Ohio, when he’s at Children’s for treatment, sometimes playing cards with him or bringing him treats. Hagins also has helped Leo’s family, which includes older brother, Nolan, 10, attend professional sporting events in Pittsburgh.

Hagins says he considers the Zambori family his family, and Leo — who is doing well and will finish chemo treatment in June — a little brother. It’s a sentiment Zambori agrees with wholeheartedly.

“I can’t say enough about Cuddles for Kids and how Conner has taken Leo under his wing and been there for him throughout everything,” she says. “I couldn’t ask for a better role model for my kid.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

An Impressive Duck Lands at Spork in Bloomfield

Executive chef Chris Frangiadis introduces a tableside classic to the restaurant's menu.

Summer Camp Helps Children Deal with Loss

Now accepting applications, Experience Camp welcomes children who have lost immediate family members.

PM on KD: Spirit Is in Our After Dark Hall of Fame

PM nightlife and culture editor Sean Collier appeared on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss the latest inductee into Pittsburgh Magazine's After Dark Hall of Fame: Spirit.

Duke’s Williamson Transcends the Madness

Freshman Zion Williamson makes this year’s NCAA Tournament, always fascinating on its own merits, even more of a can’t-miss event.

A New Steel Curtain Is Rising

Will the new Steelers zone at Kennywood Park be ready in time for opening day?

Refucilo Winery Brings a Taste of Argentina to the North Side

Dr. Juan Antonio Lora's passion project is linked to youthful memories.

After Dark Hall of Fame: Spirit

The lauded Lawrenceville hotspot is the latest inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame.

The 400-Word Review: Us

Jordan Peele's new film is terrifying, essential viewing.

Why These Pittsburgh Brides Said Yes to the … Jumpsuit?

Comfort, mobility and style were all considerations for these brides’ perfect wedding wardrobe.

Pittsburgh Tops the List For First-Time Homebuyers

The report from Bankrate.com touts Pittsburgh’s affordability, job market and culture.

On Trend: Add a Touch of Velvet to Your Decor

Local designers say the fabric can give a room a luxurious feel. Here’s how to incorporate it into your home.

Spring Clean Your Attic at This Reuse Festival

Just in time for Earth Day, local organizations are giving you the opportunity to recycle, learn about sustainability and get rid of unwanted stuff at home.

The 400-Word Review: Out of Blue

There's plenty of ambition in this police procedural, but the results are mixed.

Dish Osteria Will Reopen This Spring

After a two-year hiatus, Michele and Cindy Savoia's beloved restaurant and bar returns to the South Side.

7 Scenic Day Trips with Spectacular Views

By car, train, bicycle or foot, head outside to take in these unforgettable vistas.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Summer Camp Helps Children Deal with Loss

Summer Camp Helps Children Deal with Loss

Now accepting applications, Experience Camp welcomes children who have lost immediate family members.

Comments

A New Steel Curtain Is Rising

A New Steel Curtain Is Rising

Will the new Steelers zone at Kennywood Park be ready in time for opening day?

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
An Impressive Duck Lands at Spork in Bloomfield

An Impressive Duck Lands at Spork in Bloomfield

Executive chef Chris Frangiadis introduces a tableside classic to the restaurant's menu.

Comments

Refucilo Winery Brings a Taste of Argentina to the North Side

Refucilo Winery Brings a Taste of Argentina to the North Side

Dr. Juan Antonio Lora's passion project is linked to youthful memories.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

From ultra-premium experiences to bargains with great views, here are five perfect places to watch the Pens.

Comments

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments


After Dark Hall of Fame: Spirit

After Dark Hall of Fame: Spirit

The lauded Lawrenceville hotspot is the latest inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame.

Comments

It's 2019. We Need a Modern, Dine-In Cinema

It's 2019. We Need a Modern, Dine-In Cinema

Pittsburgh is long overdue for a new movie palace where you can get an actual meal brought to your seat.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Duke’s Williamson Transcends the Madness

Duke’s Williamson Transcends the Madness

Freshman Zion Williamson makes this year’s NCAA Tournament, always fascinating on its own merits, even more of a can’t-miss event.

Comments

Brown and Bell are Gone – What the Steelers Need to do Next

Brown and Bell are Gone – What the Steelers Need to do Next

Whether the Steelers are better or worse off, whether they’re culpable or deserve to be applauded for finally resolving two of their biggest problems remains to be seen.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Us

The 400-Word Review: Us

Jordan Peele's new film is terrifying, essential viewing.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Out of Blue

The 400-Word Review: Out of Blue

There's plenty of ambition in this police procedural, but the results are mixed.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Why These Pittsburgh Brides Said Yes to the … Jumpsuit?

Why These Pittsburgh Brides Said Yes to the … Jumpsuit?

Comfort, mobility and style were all considerations for these brides’ perfect wedding wardrobe.

Comments

The Big Fake Wedding Offers Everything But the “I Dos”

The Big Fake Wedding Offers Everything But the “I Dos”

This nontraditional wedding showcase gives couples real-world insight into planning their big day.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
On Trend: Add a Touch of Velvet to Your Decor

On Trend: Add a Touch of Velvet to Your Decor

Local designers say the fabric can give a room a luxurious feel. Here’s how to incorporate it into your home.

Comments

Leanne & Steve Dish on Season 2 of "Restored by the Fords"

Leanne & Steve Dish on Season 2 of "Restored by the Fords"

Siblings Leanne and Steve Ford talk renovating Steve’s new warehouse, Leanne’s new baby — and their two new HGTV shows.

Comments