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Heap donating $1M for pediatric center

The Baltimore Sun

Thanks a million, Todd Heap.

That's what officials at Franklin Square Hospital Center probably are saying after Heap, a Ravens tight end, pledged $1 million toward a new pediatric center at the Baltimore County facility.

Heap's gift, announced yesterday, will help kick-start construction of a seven-story patient care tower at Franklin Square.

Groundbreaking for the 356,000-square-foot tower will take place Wednesday with a ceremony Heap is expected to attend.

"It is encouraging to have someone outside our community ... believe in what we are doing," Carl Schindelar, president of Franklin Square, said in a news release. "Todd's donation will go far in helping support our mission."

Heap, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, was the Ravens' first-round draft pick out of Arizona State in 2001.

"As parents of three children, my wife Ashley and I recognize the need for and value of quality pediatric care and services close at hand," Heap, 27, said in a statement. "I am extremely impressed and moved by the great care and compassion the hospital provides to children and families in the community."

Efforts to reach Heap last night were unsuccessful. From her home in Mesa, Ariz., Heap's mother said she was unaware of her son's donation but was "not surprised" by it.

"Todd does things in a quiet way," Deena Heap said. "He doesn't like things to be publicized."

Heap is not the only Baltimore athlete to make a million-dollar donation locally in recent years. Carmelo Anthony of the NBA's Denver Nuggets, who played at Towson Catholic, also has given to causes in his hometown.

Last year, Anthony donated $1.5 million to help open the Carmelo Anthony Youth Development Center on East Fayette Street, which opened in December 2006.

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