Boomer and Papa John Visit Riley Hospital for Children, Papa John’s Donates $100K

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Boomer and Papa John Visit Riley Hospital for Children, Papa John’s Donates $100K

by Scott Agness | @ScottAgness

April 17, 2014

Children at Riley Hospital for Children were treated to pizza and an Indiana Pacers- themed Child Life Party Thursday afternoon. Pacers mascot Boomer and Papa John himself, John Schnatter, made their way through the hospital meeting with patients.

Papa John's donates $100,000 to Riley Children’s Foundation

Schnatter, the founder, chairman and CEO of Papa John’s, presented a check for $50,810 to Riley Children’s Foundation from the Hope Happens Here Meal deal promotion – a large Papa John’s pizza with up to two toppings, breadsticks, and a 2-liter Pepsi product for $15. Papa John’s donates $1 of every Hope Happens Here Meal Deal order to the hospital.

On top of that, Schnatter said his foundation would match it for a grand total of over $100,000 going towards Riley Children’s Foundation.

“It’s just been a tremendous day,” said Schnatter. “We’ve raised $100,000 with Paul George and the Pacers and my foundation. Kids, cancer, Riley — it’s easy to get behind.”

John Schnatter meets with patients

Schnatter is an Indiana native, born in Jeffersonville, and he attended Ball State University. He started his first Papa John’s restaurant, one of more than 400 in 35 countries worldwide, about 90 minutes from the hospital. That’s why partnering with the Pacers and Paul George for a cause benefiting Riley is a perfect fit.

“We got involved with him and the hospital before he became really great,” said Schnatter. “We go on the person, we go on the character and he’s just a fantastic young man. I think he’s got a bright future and we’re lucky to partner with him.”

"John is an amazing person,” George added. “I wanted to team up with such an organization as Papa John’s and he's opened so many doors for me since I've been with him. I just think it was a great connection between us two.”

During the trip, Schnatter was able to reconnect with two young patients, Trevor Cobb and Javaughn Blakely. Schnatter treated those two and their moms to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Miami last June.

Cobb had recently had surgery and had to be carried to his seats. But he made it and wanted to cheer on his Pacers. Almost 11 months later, he’s feeling “good,” and wearing a proud smile.

Children play games during the event

“Getting to know Papa John has been a great think for me and Javaughn,” Cobb said.

Schnatter took the time to speak with patients one-on-one, sign autographs and hand out t-shirts. He said it was special to visit with Trevor and Javaughn once again.

“That made the trip and everything we are doing with the Pacers and Riley all the more worthwhile,” he said. “They weren’t near as robust or as strong back at the Pacers-Heat game down in Miami as they were today.”

Riley’s Cancer Center treats 85 percent of all Indiana children diagnosed with cancer. Each year, about 250 children in Indiana are diagnosed.

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