According to a news report from, “Joseph Aurelio, of Homewood-based Aurelio’s Pizza, is to be honored for his philanthropic efforts on behalf of Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital before a crowd of 400 people tonight in Chicago.”

“Aurelio has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the hospital in the 11 years since his son Austin died there from a heart defect just two weeks after he was born on Aurelio’s birthday,” said the story. “In the wake of his loss, Aurelio and his wife, Christine, created a foundation in Austin’s memory and set out to deal with their grief by doing their part to aid the hospital’s pediatric cardiology unit. “A lot of people can just go into grieving,” said Aurelio, 45, whose father founded the pizza chain nearly four decades ago. “We chose to give back to the hospital. It’s been very fulfilling for us.” One of his first fundraising campaigns capitalized on the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990s. Aurelio, who has a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old, purchased the stuffed animals, then resold them in the hospital’s lobby and elsewhere, eventually bringing in some $250,000.”

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