A Memoir of a Mother’s Determination and Her Micro Preemie’s Struggle to Beat the Odds
Sunday May 7th was the Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day to raise money for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Although it was a bit chilly, we were so happy that it didn’t rain like it did last year!
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is a member of the larger Westchester Medical Center. They are a pediatric hospital committed to providing the most advanced care available to more than 20,000 critically ill infants and children each year. It’s the embodied vision of hundreds of parents, medical professionals and community leaders who had a fervent desire to create a “family-centered” children’s hospital where parents are not visitors but partners, and where the unique creative surroundings are an integral part of the healing process. They have that down pat!
What makes Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital so unique?
That’s why we walk and that’s where the donations go!
Team From Hope to Joy had a Superstar Tent and a pretty good turnout. Unfortunately the walk fell on the same day as family Communion, so we had a few less people than normal, but that didn’t stop us!
The walkers were treated to bagels, donuts, granola bars, water, juice and coffee both before and after the walk.
There was a huge bubble truck cranking out bubbles for the kids to run through and pop; two bounce houses, and a tent with games with prizes!
Also, there were a few princesses and Star Wars characters walking around for photo ops.
Many members of Westchester’s Iowa Style Wrestling club showed up to walk with our team and support the hospital. Thanks guys!
Team From Hope to Joy raised over $4500 for the hospital and we hope to continue to support them at the walk each and every year. Visit our team page by clicking HERE.
We were the #5 on the Top Teams list. Check it out HERE:
It just so happens that May 7th was also Parents of Preemies Day- a day started by Graham’s Foundation to show support for the parents who love and nurture the premature babies of the world. You can read more about Parents of Preemie’s Day by clicking HERE.
Click HERE to read about and see some pictures of last year’s walk.
You can still donate for another week or so by clicking on our Team Page.
Thanks for your support and we hope to see you at the 2018 Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day.
Today was the 2016 “Go the Distance” Walk and Family Fun Day for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.
It was a great day- despite the rain! And we were a “Super Star Team” this year so they gave us a tent. That was key because we all gathered in it to stay dry before and after the walk 🙂
“Team From Hope to Joy” braved the rain and cold to walk to support Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital so that they can save the lives of more children and help them and their parents have a more comfortable hospital stay.
In 2012- Joy was born at 23 weeks at 1 pound an 4 ounces and they saved her life. The care she received during her 4 months at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital allowed her to grow into the beautiful ALMOST 4-YEAR OLD that she is today.
They also saved the life of my goddaughter last year after she had a terrible bicycle accident.
We will always be in debt to them for what they did for our family and we’ll always walk to support them 🙂
Although it was raining- the kids all had fun. There was still live music, snacks and drinks, and a game tent.
Umbrellas in hand , Team From Hope to Joy was happy to support Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital today and WE RAISED OVER $4600.00 for them!
And after the walk was over- we went out for lunch.
You can still donate to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital under “Team From Hope to Joy” for another day or two by visiting our team page:
We hope to see you at next year’s “Go the Distance” Walk and Family Fun Day.
Oh, and please sign up for our email list so that you can stay up to date on Joy’s progress and the fundraising we do to support various prematurity related organizations 🙂
Let’s raise some money for premature babies!
I’m writing to tell you that we have TWO exciting fundraising events coming up this Spring and we hope that you can come out and support them both!
Sunday, April 24th is Morgan’s FunDay!
It’s from 2:00 to 6:00 pm at the Mahopac Golf Club.
The money raised goes to The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund– a nonprofit for which I am a member of their Board of Directors. “Morgan’s Fund” (for short) collects money which will be used to research Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), a disease that kills too many premature babies each year. The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund was started by the Vaughan family after one of their twin premature boys developed and survived NEC shortly after birth, requiring over 8 inches of his intestines to be removed. Click HERE to see visit their website.
NEC is a devastating disease that affects the intestine of premature infants. The wall of the intestine is invaded by bacteria, which cause local infection and inflammation that can ultimately destroy the wall of the bowel (intestine). Such bowel wall destruction can lead to perforation of the intestine and spillage of stool into the infant’s abdomen, which can result in an overwhelming infection and death.
Doctors apply for grants from Morgan’s Fund and use the money help find better treatments for NEC with the goal of ultimately being able to prevent it.
We were fortunate that Joy did not develop NEC during her time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but not all premature babies are so fortunate. We made a few lifelong friends during Joy’s four months in the NICU and one of these families lost their baby girl to NEC. Her name was Lily.
Because of Lily’s passing, we have dedicated an award in her name- to be given out each year- to a doctor who has done research in the area of Necrotizing Enterocolitis. This year, the Lily Pedro Award for Excellence will be given to Dr. Edmund LaGamma of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. The Pedro Family will be present to share their story.
We can promise an afternoon of fun! There will be a magician, kids craft table, DJ, buffet dinner, adult bar, ice cream bar and a photographer taking complimentary family photos!
Let’s not forget that we have over 50 gift certificates to raffle off! The local businesses and restaurants have been SUPER generous in donating gift certificates and products for our raffle. We also have some great Door Prizes. The Mahopac Golf Club donated a foursome ($500) as a door prize and we plan on having a few more. Your admission ticket automatically enters you into the Door Prize raffle.
Please click HERE to purchase your tickets today! Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate walk-ins and I will have to let the Golf Club know how many people to set up for.
Please share Morgan’s FunDay with your friends and purchase your tickets today!
Sunday, May 1 is the “Go the Distance” Walk and Family Fun Day for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, NY.
This is the hospital that saved Joy’s life and where she lived for the first four months after her birth. We owe them EVERYTHING- so we do what we can to raise money for them- when we can.
It’s a great morning for the whole family! Registration begins at 8:30 am and the walk starts a little after 9 am. It’s a SHORT, 1 MILE, FLAT walk that circles around the hospital campus. There will be food, drinks, games, bouncy houses, vendors, children’s characters, and a dance party. The whole event is over by 11:30 am and the rest of the day is yours!
Please consider registering to be on “Team Hope to Joy” by clicking HERE. We would love to have a large group walking with us. We will even give you a “Team From Hope to Joy” shirt!
If you cannot walk with us that day- please consider making a donation to the hospital in the name of our team. Click HERE to do that.
Last year we were able to raise over $11,000 for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and we would love to beat that number this year.
Spring is a busy time for everyone. We know that! There are Communions, Confirmations, holidays, birthdays, sports and more…
But, please consider joining us for one or both of our events. If feels good to donate! Plus, you will get a receipt for next year’s tax return!
Let’s help allow more babies to have the best start in life!
Thank you and we hope to see you this Spring!
One more time…
HERE is the link to purchase tickets for Morgan’s FunDay or donate to The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund.
HERE is the link to register to walk with us at the “Go the Distance” Walk and Family Fun Day” for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital or just make a donation on behalf of “Team From Hope to Joy” 🙂
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center recognizes that an extended stay in the NICU can be very stressful on the parents.
We are creating a parent mentor support program to help NICU parents overcome the stress and anxiety that is associated with their babies’ stay in the hospital.
Our goal is to offer confidential one-on-one emotional support from trained volunteer mentors who are parents of former NICU babies.
Are you interested in being a NICU Parent Mentor?
If yes, please fill out the following online survey:
And please share this with any preemie parents or parents of NICU babies that have graduated from the NICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, NY.
Together we can make a difference!
This year’s NICU reunion at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medial Center was the best one (that we’ve attended) yet. It was such a celebration of life!
During Joy’s 4 months in the NICU, we made many friends that we still keep in touch with. Quite a few of those friends are Joy’s former NICU doctors and nurses. The medical staff gets so excited to see how far “their” babies have come. These doctors, nurses, and therapists dedicate their life to giving premature and sick babies a chance at life, and many of them get very emotional when they see the progress these tiny babies have made.
Not only is great to see the parents we once saw each day, but there is something so special about watching two toddlers, who were once not expected to live, play together like there is not a care in the world. That is how it should be for them.
We are so lucky that they don’t remember the intubations/extubations, central lines, intravenous lines, blood transfusions, heel pricks, X-rays and surgeries that most NICU babies endure during their first few months of life.
All they know is that they are at a party, on a sunny day, playing with other children and enjoying the life that they don’t know they almost didn’t have.
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital planned a lot fun activities for the former NICU babies and their siblings. There was face painting, bounce houses, percussion instruments to play, games, giveaways, and food. My children each had two ice cream treats (that I know of! LOL!) and cookies, too!
Dr. Edmund LaGamma, Chief of Newborn Medicine at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, never lets a NICU reunion go by without lining up all attendees for a group picture. This picture is proudly displayed next to the previous year’s picture, in the hallway of the NICU. It is meant to bring hope to parents in desperate need of it, and to show everyone how so many of “their” babies have been given that chance at life, because of the staff at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.
My daughter was one of those babies and spent 121 days in their NICU, and I will be forever grateful to each person who played a role in her success.
We can’t wait until next year’s reunion!
Oh, and congratulations to Marie Costillo and her NICU graduate for winning our gift basket raffle, which included a copy of From Hope to Joy, a set of The ZAKY, along with a few other baby items. Today was the baby’s first birthday!
We can’t wait until next year’s reunion!
Does your NICU host a reunion? If not, you should suggest it.