a Publication of maria Fareri children’s hospital at Westchester medical center
Offering Hope for
A Day with a Pediatric
Floor Nurse Manager
Spotlight on Erin Facelle
A Message from our
6 Executive Director/Physician-in-Chief
Cancer Q& A with As maria Fareri children’s hospital enters its fourth year, there is no greater testament to
Dr. Somasundaram Jayabose the need for the facility and to its important place as a resource for the region than the
7 plans that are already underway to increase our capacity.
When a Child Needs Surgery The first phase of the expansion plan, to be completed in 2008, calls for doubling
8 the number of pediatric emergency department beds and adding about five general
Art Therapy inpatient beds. In the second phase of the plan, slated for completion in 2009, an entire
10 new “neighborhood” – our term for inpatient unit – will be added. The third phase will
increase mFch capacity even further with an additional new unit.
Silly Sally Sunshine
All of these plans are made necessary by the growing demand for high-quality, specialty
pediatric healthcare in the hudson Valley. Since opening its doors in
Supporting MFCH: The Goldsteins 2004, mFch has maintained a remarkable average daily occupancy
14 rate of more than 90 percent, with one of the highest severity indices
(a measure of seriousness of the illnesses we treat) of any children’s
Regional Youth Leadership Group
The hospital’s staff of more than 400 pediatric medical and surgical
NICU 25th Reunion
specialists, technicians, nurses, social workers, child life specialists and
front & back cover
others has treated more than 65,000 infants, children and teens for a variety of ailments,
Visit us at www.worldclassmedicine.com/smallwonders
including congenital heart defects, cancer, surgical and orthopaedic problems, cranio-
facial deformities, trauma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, metabolic disorders and life-threatening
infections, among others. It’s no secret that families come to mFch from throughout
Westchester County Health Care Corporation
Michael D. Israel, President and Chief Executive Officer the hudson Valley, northern New Jersey and connecticut for services that often are not
Board of Directors available anywhere else in the region. For example, more than 16,000 infants have been
cared for in our Regional Perinatal center, which opened at Westchester medical center
Richard A. Berman, Chair 25 years ago, in September 1982.
Mitchell Hochberg, First Vice Chair
John Heimerdinger, Vice Chair As hospital expansion plans progress, nearly every medical and surgical specialty
John Spicer, Vice Chair service will be enhancing its offerings and capabilities with additional personnel or
Mark Tulis, Treasurer
Renee Garrick, M.D., Secretary
support services. We will keep you posted about these exciting changes in the pages
of this magazine, so “stay tuned.” As always, your comments and suggestions about the
Gerard Bernacchia Michael Israel publication are welcome. Please call us at (914) 493-8024 anytime.
Helen Blackwood Alfredo Quintero
Claudia Edwards Emmeline Rocha-Sinha
Herman Geist Michael Staib
Susan Gevertz Patrick McCoy
Jon Halpern Joseph Tomaino
michael Gewitz, m.D.
At maria Fareri children’s hospital and Westchester medical center, we
care for the most severely ill and injured newborns, infants, children and
maria Fareri children’s hospital
adults from the hudson Valley region and beyond. Because of the strong
partnerships we have forged with community hospitals in the region, with Published by Westchester medical center, Department of marketing and corporate communications
managed care companies, with local doctors, with our patients and within 110 Executive Offices, Valhalla, NY 10595, 914-493-8024
the hospital, Westchester medical center has become a major healthcare
resource in the tri-state area. With more than 3.6 million people in the Kara Bennorth, Vice President, marketing and corporate communications
region, each day hundreds of sick or injured people need to rely on
David Billig, Director of media Relations
us…and they can.
Isabel Dichiara, Director of community Relations and Outreach
The information in this publication is written by professional journalists Leslie mills, Director of Editorial Information
and/or physicians. however, no publication can replace the direct care or
advice of medical professionals and readers are cautioned to seek such help
for personal problems.
Ben cotten, Digital Imaging
Ellen Lane, Staff Writer
maria Fareri children’s hospital Offers
hope for Troubled hearts
The walls in Dr. Suvro Sett’s office at Westchester medical center’s maria Fareri children’s hospital
are adorned with photos of smiling, healthy children — all of whom were born with heart defects.
Some of the children had a “simple” hole in their hearts. Some had a defect that obstructed blood
flow. Others were born with “half a heart,” or a single pumping chamber that couldn’t deliver enough
blood and oxygen to their bodies.
Using the latest techniques and equipment, however, Dr. Sett, chief of Pediatric and congenital
cardiac Surgery, was able to help all of them.
“It’s very gratifying to see children come out of surgery, begin eating, and have energy,” says Dr. Sett,
who has operated on thousands of children in his heart surgery career. “These children usually do
very well and lead very productive lives.”
The pediatric cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery programs at maria Fareri children’s hospital
continued on page 4
The pediatric cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery
programs offer inpatient and outpatient care to all ages,
from unborn babies to premature infants to teens. 3
continued from page 3
offer inpatient and outpatient care to children Dr. Sett must perform two or three separate and
of all ages, from unborn babies to premature complex operations to re-route blood flow and
infants to teens. Specialists even follow patients ensure their bodies get enough oxygen.
who are now adults living with congenital heart “These are kids who would die prematurely
defects who have grown up under their care over without surgery and they wouldn’t be able to
decades. participate in many normal childhood activities,”
The program is supported by a high-tech critical says Dr. Sett, who came to Westchester from the
care unit, dedicated operating suite and full staff of British columbia children’s hospital in Vancouver,
medical and cardiovascular specialists who work canada, in 2004. “Our goal is to change that by
closely together to help children from all over the giving them as full a repair as possible.”
hudson Valley region and beyond. Dr. Sett says he works closely with pediatric
Specialists in the children’s cardiovascular cardiologists to use non-surgical treatments
programs are busy every day, diagnosing, treating, whenever possible. Using cardiac catheterization,
and providing follow-up care for thousands of a procedure in which a long plastic tube is
children and young adults every year. This includes inserted into a blood vessel and directed into the
more than 500 assessments of babies still in the heart, doctors can open blocked arteries, close
womb, as well. The hospital has one of the highest defects using plugs or coils and eliminate irregular
case mix indexes for children in the state, meaning heartbeats.
that it treats the sickest patients. In addition to caring for children throughout
“What’s more,” Dr. Sett says, “the techniques used the region, Dr. Sett and his colleagues volunteer
to correct some of the most severe congenital their time to treat needy children from all over
heart defects keep evolving and improving with the world, including Russia, china, the Philippines,
time, so children who undergo these procedures South America, the caribbean and Iraq. For the
have a better long-term prognosis.” future, Dr. Sett says, he would like to see the heart
For example, in recent years, specialists have program grow along with the population of the
developed techniques to shorten the amount hudson Valley region.
of time that the heart must be stopped during “This facility has so much to offer families whose
surgery and to keep blood flowing to the brain children are born with heart defects,” says Dr. Sett.
for as long as possible during the procedure “We offer the latest techniques and treatments,
— both of which reduce the risk of side effects. and we offer them in a spectacular child-centered
A good number of the program’s patients need environment.”
more than one treatment or surgery. In children To learn more about Dr. Sett and congenital heart disease in
born with a single ventricle, for example, children, visit www.worldclassmedicine.com/smallwondersheart
“This facility has so much to offer families whose children are
born with heart defects...We offer the latest techniques and
treatments, and we offer them in a spectacular child-centered
environment.” –Dr. Suvro Sett, chief of Pediatric and congenital
4 cardiac Surgery at maria Fareri children’s hospital
The first sign that something was wrong was a heart murmur detected shortly after
Kevin Daly was born nine years ago. Doctors at the local hospital assured Carol Daly
that her son’s murmur was nothing to worry about.
When he seemed to be gasping for air a few days later, however, Carol and her
husband, Sean, insisted that Kevin be evaluated and brought him to Dr. Michael
Gewitz, Director of Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at what is now Maria
Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center.
“Kevin was diagnosed with tricuspid atresia. He didn’t have
a tricuspid valve or a working right ventricle, so his heart
couldn’t work properly,” Carol says. “He would have died
Kevin received the treatment he needed — three complex
surgeries that essentially re-routed the blood flow through his
heart — at Westchester Medical Center, where pediatric heart
specialists have been offering families hope since 1983.
The first surgery was performed when Kevin was just five
weeks old. “His heart stopped several times during the first surgery. We thought we
had lost him,” says Carol. “Then his lungs collapsed and his kidneys started shutting
down. But within two weeks, he had fully recovered from the surgery.”
The second surgery, which was done at eight months, allowed blood to flow from the
head and upper limbs directly to the lungs, bypassing the right ventricle. The third
procedure, performed when
he was three, re-directed the
blood flow from the lower
limbs directly to the lungs,
completing the circulation.
These days, Kevin, with his
twinkling brown eyes and
generous sprinkling of freckles
across his nose and cheeks, is
the picture of health. A fourth
grader at Kent Elementary
School, he is an A student and
plays baseball and basketball just like his big brother, Sean.
“The Cardiologists and CT Surgical group, the nurses and the entire pediatric team
at the Medical Center were all absolutely amazing,” says Carol. “We never thought
Kevin would be able to run, never mind play sports, but he can do almost anything.”
Managing People, Helping Families:
It’s All in a Day’s Work for Erin Facelle
e Erin Facelle, the daughter of a nurse, learned the demands of
the vocation early on in life.
“my father had a massive heart attack when he was 41, and he
was in and out of hospitals all the time,” Facelle recalls. “From
to provide children’s tertiary, or specialized, consultative care. “It
is usually full when I leave, and it’s full when I come back in the
The demand for beds is no doubt intensified by the hospital’s
about the age of five, I watched my mother care for my father stellar reputation.
during different stages and degrees of illness. I saw first-hand “We care for the region’s sickest children and offer a family-
the level of care that was required.” centered approach,” Facelle says. “Now that the word is out,
our referrals have increased.”
On a recent afternoon, Facelle makes her third-floor rounds,
stopping by each of six wings — called “neighborhoods”—
that feature themed décor geared toward particular ages or
needs. The “heroes” neighborhood for toddlers, for instance,
boasts a real fire truck cab. The “Sailing” wing for infants has
Along the way, Facelle consults with a colleague regarding an
overtime shift and then bends down to chat with a patient,
a small boy playing a computer game.
“Where’s your bike?” she asks, prompting the boy to grin
Pediatric Nurse manager Erin Facelle, left,
takes time to visit with a patient. and point at his tricycle parked nearby. “Whew!” she replies.
“There it is!”
When the time came for Facelle to select a career, the choice Facelle admits that she misses hands-on patient care at
seemed obvious. She followed in her mother’s footsteps by times, and that her managerial role presents its fair share of
earning her bachelor of science degree in Nursing at catholic challenges.
University in Washington, D.c. She’s been taking care of
patients ever since. “But I am so lucky to have a tremendous staff that works as
hard as they do,” she says. “I can’t say enough about them.”
Now the General Pediatric Floor Nurse manager of maria
Fareri children’s hospital, Facelle oversees a staff of 120 Facelle particularly credits her assistant nurse managers,
registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants Rori hyde, Susan Spadafino and christine King, for their
and hospital clerks. Though she no longer deals one-on-one professionalism and dedication. Facelle insists that it is the
with patients, she keeps the unit running smoothly while excellence of the staff — from physicians to clerks — that
juggling scheduling and payroll responsibilities. her beeper, sets maria Fareri children’s hospital apart.
phone and nursing staff constantly jockey for her attention, but “The people here are incredible,” she says. “When a child is
she remains remarkably calm and cheerful. sick, the entire family is in crisis, so you have to be up to the
“Through every position I’ve had, I’ve gained more experience challenge. And the people here are.”
and learned about the intricacies of how a hospital is run,” she When her son, michael, needed a surgical procedure a few
says. “I’ve learned that communication and people skills are the years ago, Facelle says she came to truly appreciate the
biggest part of leadership.” outstanding care offered at the children’s hospital. The
The hospital’s general pediatric unit is usually filled to capacity, experience prompted michael, now 15, to consider a career
with added challenges during the winter months, the peak in medicine, just like his mother and grandmother.
season for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes Facelle notes with a chuckle that her eight-year-old daughter,
infection of the lungs and breathing passages and may be Kathryn, is also interested in a medical career, but of a different
particularly dangerous for premature babies or children battling sort. “Kathryn is an animal lover and would like to be a
“my biggest challenge is beds,” Facelle admits, noting that the
hospital is the only facility between New York city and Albany
cancer Treatment Advances mean
Greater Survival and Better Quality
of Life for Young Patients
Today, four out of five children diagnosed with cancer
survive, with cure rates reaching 80 to 90 percent for acute
lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer.
That’s a far cry from the 1960s, when only 30 percent of
children survived childhood cancers.
Researchers continue to make steady progress in refining
treatments to improve long-term survival and limit side effects,
so children undergoing treatment have a better quality of life.
Small Wonders spoke with Dr. Somasundaram Jayabose, chief of
Pediatric hematology and Oncology at maria Fareri children’s
hospital at Westchester medical center, to learn about some
of the most recent advances in care.
Q: What are some of the important recent advances
in the treatment of childhood cancer?
A: The most important advances in the treatment of childhood
cancer are in the use of antibodies to fight cancer, in the
area of targeted chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation and
Q: How are antibodies
being used in cancer Patients receive Infusion Therapy in a comfortable setting at maria Fareri
treatment? children’s hospital at Westchester medical center.
A: cancer cells have specific to the body’s DNA. This abnormality activates a protein that,
antigens. In certain types of in turn, triggers the cancer cells to multiply. The prototype
lymphoma, for example, the cells for targeted chemotherapy is a drug called Gleevec that can
carry an antigen called cD20. inhibit the protein that triggers cancer cell growth. It was first
We are now using antibodies, used in adults with chronic myelogenous leukemia (cmL),
proteins made by the body, and it has made a tremendous difference in the lives of these
to fight infection and cancers patients by keeping them in remission. Now it is being used in
specifically engineered to attack children with cmL, and in children with acute lymphoblastic
particular antigens. This has leukemia who have a particular genetic abnormality called
Dr. Somasundararm Jayabose
Philadelphia chromosome that responds to Gleevec. Based on
two advantages: First, it improves the “cell kill,” or percentage the experience with adults, we expect children with this type of
of cancer cells that are destroyed by a treatment; second, it cancer to do better on Gleevec.
has fewer side effects than ordinary chemotherapy because
healthy cells are not targeted. One such antibody is rituximab. Q: Where are we with regard to stem cell
Rituximab binds to a type of white blood cell called a B cell, transplantation?
and can attack B-cell lymphomas in people. A: Stem cells are used to rescue patients after they receive
Q: What is targeted chemotherapy? very high doses of chemotherapy used to treat relapsed or
refractory cancers. In the past, the only way to obtain stem cells
A: In targeted chemotherapy, the drugs attack only the cancer was from bone marrow of a suitable donor; thus it is called
cells. cancer begins as a result of a genetic mutation, or damage
continued on page 8
continued from page 7
bone marrow transplantation. Donating bone marrow, Q: What advances are affecting patient quality of life?
however, is a painful procedure, requiring anesthesia. Now, A: There have been a number of advances in supportive care.
we are able to harvest stem cells, which stimulate production Some patients with leukemia and lymphomas experience a
of healthy blood cells, including the white blood cells needed serious complication called “tumor lysis syndrome,” which
to fight infection, from peripheral blood. Peripheral stem cell occurs when cancer cells break down and release potassium,
harvesting takes only about four hours and doesn’t require uric acid and phosphate into the blood. This can cause
anesthesia, so it increases the donor pool available. It also kidney damage. Now, there is a new drug, known as urate
provides more stem cells than a bone marrow transplant, so oxidase, that is extremely effective in lowering the uric acid
patients recover more quickly. In some patients who do not level. Another side effect of chemotherapy is neutropenia, or
have blood cancers, we can even harvest the stem cells from low white blood cell count, which predisposes the patient to
their own blood prior to giving them chemotherapy. We also serious infections. We are now able to shorten the period of
can get stem cells from cord blood, which is the blood found neutropenia by giving patients growth factors (called G-cSF)
in the umbilical cord. This has a number of advantages in that that stimulate the production of white blood cells. Finally, there
it is easy to obtain, requires no time on the part of the donor, have been a number of new drugs that are very effective in
and is less likely to be rejected by the recipient’s body. preventing nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
Two of these drugs, Zofran and Kytril, have made a
tremendous difference in the quality of life for our children.
When a child Needs Surgery
a At 15, christopher Pugh already has gone under the knife. But
thanks to the use of minimally invasive techniques, he doesn’t
have the scar to prove it.
“When christopher was hospitalized for abdominal pain,
a large incision.
The video camera is placed through one
small incision, while miniature instruments
that sever, clamp and staple are passed
they wanted to do the big cut,” says his father, mark Pugh. through other tiny openings. The camera
“he basically would have had a gash all the way across his projects an image of the organs inside
abdomen. But then we decided to transfer him to maria Fareri the body onto a television screen in the
Dr. Gustavo Stringel
children’s hospital.” operating room and the surgeon makes
mark credits Dr. Gustavo Stringel, chief of Pediatric Surgery repairs by watching the screen.
and Surgeon-in-chief at maria Fareri children’s hospital at “The challenge in using minimally invasive techniques with
Westchester medical center, with sparing his son the pain, children is the smaller size of the patient,” says Dr. Stringel, who
scarring and longer recovery associated with open surgery. was one of the first pediatric minimally invasive surgeons in
Since arriving at Westchester medical center in 1994, Dr. the nation. “It requires special training and expertise to deal
Stringel has pioneered the use of minimally invasive surgery in with small tissues and organs.”
children, regionally and nationally. In the right hands, however, there are few limits to the use of
“minimally invasive surgery has tremendous advantages for minimally invasive techniques. Dr. Stringel uses laparoscopy
children,” says Dr. Stringel. “The incisions are much smaller, so to diagnose abdominal pain in children, correct intestinal and
there is significantly less pain and a shorter recovery period. congenital anomalies, sample lung tissue for biopsies and to
Equally as important, you avoid the type of disfiguring scars remove the spleen, appendix, kidney, gallbladder, and cancerous
that can lead to poor body image and low self-esteem.” tumors. minimally invasive surgery is also used to diagnose
In minimally invasive surgery, sometimes referred to as and treat victims of trauma.
laparoscopic or thoracoscopic surgery, the surgeon operates In christopher Pugh’s case, Dr. Stringel used minimally invasive
with the aid of a viewing scope and specially designed techniques to diagnose and treat gastrointestinal problems.
instruments. The scope, or miniature video camera, allows Working through three tiny incisions, Dr. Stringel was able to
the surgeon to perform major surgery through three or remove christopher’s appendix and clear up an infection.
four tiny, buttonhole-sized openings, without the need for
minimally invasive surgery has tremendous advantages for children...
Addan Arellano of Port chester, NY, heads into surgery at maria Fareri children’s
hospital, where approximately 6,000 surgeries will be performed in 2007.
“You would never know he had surgery less than two weeks In march 2007, more than 500 surgeries were performed on
ago,” says mark Pugh. “he looks great. he’s eating and putting children at maria Fareri children’s hospital. This amounts to
weight back on, and because of the way the surgery was approximately 6,000 procedures a year, more than double the
done, there’s virtually no scarring.” number of pediatric surgeries performed in 2004. much of
In addition to Dr. Stringel, who is an officer of the Board of the increase is due to the opening of maria Fareri children’s
Trustees of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, the hospital in September 2004, with four of its seven pediatric
minimally invasive pediatric surgical team includes operating rooms equipped with state-of-the-art, minimally
Dr. Whitney J. mcBride, who joined the department in 2003. invasive surgical equipment, and to the quality and reputation
Pediatric urologists Dr. Israel Franco and Dr. Edward Reda also of the surgical programs.
use minimally invasive techniques extensively. While minimally invasive procedures currently account for
In addition to general surgery, maria Fareri children’s 20 to 30 percent of the general surgical procedures done on
hospital has pediatric surgeons specially trained and children, Dr. Stringel predicts that more and more procedures
certified in every surgical area, including cardiothoracic, will be done using minimally invasive techniques in the future.
neurosurgery, burn, plastic and reconstructive, ophthalmology, “There are no barriers anymore as far as how much can be
orthopaedic, urologic, otolaryngology and transplant. Allied done with laparoscopy,” says Dr. Stringel. “The future is here.”
with these surgical specialists are specially trained pediatric
anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists and operating room
The incisions are much smaller,
so there is significantly less pain and a shorter recovery period.
makes a World of Difference
t The room is filled with art supplies. At one table, a little
boy is busy making a model sailboat, complete with a
personalized sail. Next to him, an older boy sculpts a
helicopter and talks about the best way to slope the
these troubling issues and concepts about self, through
artwork, helps children make sense of the feelings they
are experiencing and may provide clues as to how they
are coping with their illnesses.”
nose of the aircraft so it looks like the real thing.
One teenager, for example, used an X-ray-like image for
meanwhile, a girl paints a wooden figure, adding felt
her self-portrait in the opening sequence of her DVD, a
clothes and jewelry. She’s making a doll for her aunt
telling choice for a young woman who had undergone
who is coming to visit tonight.
multiple imaging tests in an effort to diagnose her illness.
It’s an ordinary scene — with one exception: all of
the children in this room are battling chronic or life-
threatening illnesses. For them, art is more than a
prefers to be
pleasant pastime. It’s a respite from tests and treatments,
called Lizzy, doesn’t
a chance to forget for a time that they are sick and to
see herself as a
just enjoy being kids.
patient, but as an
At maria Fareri children’s hospital at Westchester artist. her room
medical center, the art studio is just one part of a multi- at maria Fareri
dimensional art therapy program for children and their children’s hospital
families. In addition to the studio, which is open weekday is decorated
afternoons, the art therapy program features an art cart with paintings,
Lizzy Grese, a patient at maria Fareri children’s
that brings art supplies to patient rooms to entertain hospital, enjoys the art studio when she comes for sculptures and
children who don’t feel well enough to go to the studio; treatments for Ewing’s Sarcoma every three weeks. crafts she has
a program in which patients use a computer to combine made and visitors
music, photographs, other images and captions to create are treated to a gallery-like tour. her mother, who
a DVD self-portrait; special projects, such as the ceramic maintains a carePage Web page about Lizzy to keep
mosaic that was recently completed with help from family and friends informed about her well-being (see
Pleasantville high School students; weekly puppet shows story, p.11) says, “Everyone who visits Lizzy’s carePage
featuring puppets made by the children; and art groups Web page asks about her recent artwork.
based on diagnosis.
“When she is laying there getting radiation therapy, she
“The art studio is what is getting my daughter through tells me she thinks about what she is going to do in the
her treatments,” says Evelyn Grese, whose nine-year-old art studio,” says mrs. Grese. “The art studio is so much
daughter Elizabeth has Ewing’s Sarcoma. “Even though more than a room with art supplies for Lizzy.”
she has to come here every three weeks, for five or
Another benefit of the art therapy program is that it
six days at a time, Elizabeth doesn’t associate anything
offers respite for parents, many of whom stay in the
negative with this hospital. She loves arts and crafts and
hospital for their child’s entire stay.
is always making something. It really takes her mind off
what she is going through.” “I never leave when Lizzy is here,” says mrs. Grese, who
also has an 11 year-old son named Sean. “Sometimes,
Distracting children from their illnesses is just one of
you just need to take a break, take a shower or get
the benefits of art therapy, says Gabrielle Grimaldi, the
some air. I can do that when I know she is in the art
creative art therapist who oversees the program.
studio because I know she is happy.”
“Art can alleviate the anxiety associated with a hospital
stay and allow children to express fear, confusion and To learn more about the child Life and
anger in a positive way,” says Grimaldi. “Rehearsing creative Arts Therapy Department at mFch,
child Life Specialist Ingrid Ordóñez-Street, c.c.L.S., helps a young patient paint a boat he made during a “Boat Building”
session brought to maria Fareri children’s hospital through a partnership between Wachovia Bank and the maritime
Aquarium in Norwalk, connecticut.
“Art can alleviate the anxiety associated with
a hospital stay and allow children to express fear,
confusion and anger in a positive way.”
“CarePages” Connects Families and Friends
“carePages” is a service offered by maria Fareri children’s hospital at Westchester medical center that
helps families and friends communicate about their loved one’s care via a free, self-built Web page. When
a patient creates a “carePage,” which only takes a few minutes, he or she can invite others to view the
page by sending out an e-mail. Once visitors are invited to view the page, updates are shared via e-mail
automatically, and visitors can leave messages for the patient and family at the page.
“Everyone who visits Lizzy’s ‘carePage’ asks about her recent artwork,” says Evelyn Grese, who maintains a “carePage” to keep
friends and family up-to-date on her daughter’s health and well-being (see story, p. 10). For more information on “carePages,” visit
Silly Sally Sunshine
Spreads cheer at mFch
W Wearing enormous, oversized red pants, a red cap, multi-
colored striped vest and the obligatory clown shoes, Silly Sally
Sunshine bends down to a little boy wearing a winter cap on
his head and trailing an IV unit behind him and says, “What’s
week after week during visits to maria Fareri children’s
hospital at Westchester medical center. Snell, a 31-year-old
aspiring actress, comes to the hospital courtesy of the Starlight
Starbright children’s Foundation, a charitable organization that
supports programs to raise the spirits of seriously ill children.
her performance includes magic tricks like the one in which
three different colored scarves are stuffed into a box, a magic
phrase is said, and an American flag is pulled out in their place.
It takes place in one of the play rooms on the third floor of
the hospital and is performed for as many or as few children
who choose to attend.
After entertaining the group, Snell makes her rounds to
patient rooms to see the children who didn’t feel well enough
to come to the play room. Some of them know her well,
having been patients in the hospital for several weeks. She asks
to see their artwork, offers to draw a caricature, performs a
few tricks, and goes through some variation of her silly banter.
One boy doesn’t seem up to the visit, though he is polite
to Snell. So, she offers to draw his caricature. he suggests a
baseball motif because he loves the sport. When she turns the
drawing around for inspection, he smiles a wide grin — her
mission has been accomplished.
he answers, “Andrew.” how does Snell cope with being around sick children?
She responds, “Angelo.” “I focus on the fact that they are happier because I’m here,
he says, “No, Andrew.” and I get to see them get better,” she says. “There was one
particular teenage boy here for several weeks and last week
She says, “Kung Foo, La Boo.”
he was well enough to go home. That made me happy.”
he says, “No, Andrew,” and bursts into giggles.
It’s a scene that Silly Sally, also known as Andrea Snell, plays out
“There was one particular teenage boy here for
several weeks and last week he was well enough
to go home. That made me happy.” –Andrea Snell
Supporting mFch is a
Family Affair for the Goldsteins
w When Arnold Goldstein’s daughter, Shari, was born with
several heart defects in 1958, he and his wife, Arlene, did not
know whether she would survive. But Shari underwent two
surgical procedures that Goldstein says “miraculously proved
100 percent successful.”
“Needless to say, it was an extremely traumatic experience,
the effects of which have lingered to this day,” says Goldstein.
“The building of maria Fareri children’s hospital gave us
the opportunity to provide a state-of-the-art intensive care
facility to ease the psychological stress of today’s patients and
The Pediatric Intensive care Unit at maria Fareri children’s
hospital at Westchester medical center that bears the Gold-
stein family’s name, features 18 private rooms, with a bed
for parents in each room and separate waiting and support
Supporting maria Fareri children’s hospital is truly a family
affair for the Goldsteins. Janice Goldstein, who is married to
Goldstein’s son, michael, has volunteered at such events as
the annual fundraising walk. And his two grandsons, Alex and
Joey, have participated in the Teen committee, which plans
fundraising and volunteer events for high school students
interested in helping the hospital.
As if that were not enough, Janice is in the process of getting
her dog, Skippy, a lovable, cavalier King charles Spaniel,
certified to visit with children at the hospital as part of its Pet
“he is such a sweet dog. he is perfect for the children’s
hospital,” says Janice. “Anything that we can do to make
being in the hospital less difficult for children is a plus.”
When asked why his family has been so supportive of Arlene and Arnold Goldstein
the hospital, Goldstein says simply, “What could be more
important than saving children’s lives?”
“The building of maria Fareri children’s hospital gave us the op-
portunity to provide a state-of-the-art intensive care facility to
ease the psychological stress of today’s patients and parents.”
14 –Arnold Goldstein
RYLO members Share Their
Time and Energy
What do you get when you combine a group of idealistic,
motivated teens and a truly unique hospital for children?
A match made in heaven.
“RYLO wanted to help maria Fareri children’s hospital
because we want to reach out to other children in our
community who are going through a difficult time,” says
Amanda Nardi, a recent Somers high School graduate who
having toured maria Fareri children’s hospital at Westchester served as president of RYLO last year. “We love that this
medical center last spring, members of the Regional Youth hospital has so many fun things children can do while they
Leadership Organization (RYLO) embarked on a campaign are here. They can go to the computer room or
to promote support for the hospital among the region’s the art studio or the play room.”
teens. Sponsored by Putnam/Northern Westchester Board
of cooperative Educational Services, RYLO was created to Jeanne Gold, Ph.D., who facilitates the RYLO group along
promote safe schools, community service and collaboration with Art Buchman, Principal of the career and Technical Edu-
among students from different high schools. cation center at BOcES, says “These students are
really role models for all of us as to how to give back to
Last year, the group collected colorful Band Aids for children at the community. Their relationship with the hospital is
mFch and batteries for the hand-held games used by children extraordinary.”
in the hospital. RYLO also participated in “Go the Distance,”
the annual 1.5 mile walk to raise funds for the hospital.
25th Annual NICU Reunion
They came from all over, and they had a blast.
On September 19, children age zero to 25, who were once patients at the Regional Neonatal center at Westchester
medical center, came back to the hospital for a joyous occasion -- to enjoy the festivities surrounding the center’s 25th
Annual Reunion. In fact, more than 200 former patients, their families, physicians, nurses, and other hospital staff members
participated in the celebration outside the front doors of maria Fareri children’s hospital.
It was a gorgeous day, and kids were able to take advantage of the Dora the Explorer Jumping house, play horseshoes, eat
cupcakes, enjoy musical instruments (as seen on the cover), listen to the band “A Fragile Tomorrow,” and just have a good
time. Be sure to pick up the next (Winter) issue of Small Wonders for a full report on the reunion and more photos.
To read Small Wonders online, visit www.worldclassmedicine.com/smallwonders.
For more information about giving to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, please call 914.493.2575 or visit www. worldclassmedicine.com where
you can also sign up for weekly email updates called Advance Notice.
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