Why We Walk for St. Mary's Children & Families
St. Mary's a national leader in intensive rehabilitation, specialized care, and education for children with life-limiting conditions. Our mission is to improve the health and quality of life for children and families with special needs. Following hospitalizations for injury, illness or complications of premature birth or when special services are needed, children and their families come to St. Mary's to receive exceptional care, learn to manage their condition, and achieve a better quality of life.
St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children has been helping and healing children for over 145 years. We’ve grown from our humble beginnings as a 15-bed facility in Manhattan to our nine-acre Queens campus, where we operate at-capacity with 103-beds—and through our day and home care services and community program, improve the lives of thousands more.
This is why we walk!
Anthony is a 5-year-old boy with a lot of energy and a contagious laugh and smile. He was diagnosed with Bronchiolitis Obliterans, an inflammatory condition that affects the lungs. The ailment caused scarring in his lungs, and he has trouble breathing on his own. Anthony's family brought him to St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children for intensive rehabilitation and therapy while he waits for a lung transplant, which would give him a 50% chance of recovery from his illness. Thanks to his treatment at St. Mary's, Anthony has been making amazing progress and has learned to manage his breathing.
Anthony's childhood has changed in so many ways, but throughout all of this, he continues to be strong, brave, positive and motivated. On any given day you can find him laughing, smiling, making others laugh, playing with his toys and enjoying one of his Grandma's home-cooked meals.
Asma is a very bright little girl who has been in the care of St. Mary’s Hospital for Children for the past seven years. Since arriving at St. Mary’s, Asma has gone on to achieve many milestones in her development. There was a time when Asma could only communicate with sounds and gestures. Now, she is a social butterfly who speaks in full sentences, has conversations, understands complex language, and even uses a wide variety of vocabulary. Asma is growing to be a self-sufficient kid. She walks independently and can dress herself with little assistance.
She is also developing her social skills, regularly interacting with peers of her age in various settings. She loves going to her dance class and attending school with other children on the St. Mary’s Campus. For Asma, St. Mary’s Hospital for Children has been her home.
Aidan is a happy, outgoing and brave 15-year-old boy that was born at 29 weeks and shortly thereafter developed a condition in his brain known as Hydrocephalus. Aidan’s doctors placed a shunt in his head in the hopes of correcting the condition, but there was already enough damage to his brain for Aidan to have Cerebral Palsy. Aidan started therapy at home, which is where his family was introduced to St. Mary’s Hospital for Children. His family feels blessed from the beginning to have dedicated and professional caseworkers and therapists that were able to walk them through the very complex world of having a child with special needs.
Currently, Aidan attends Carman Road School, where his contagious smile lights up the hallways and classrooms. He loves to listen to music, sing, play ball, have books read to him, ride elevators and really loves being around people. He has even inspired several people to obtain degrees in Education in Special Needs.
Ayesha is a vibrant, talkative, and intelligent 8-year old who has been a part of the St. Mary’s family since 2016. She is the eldest sister of two brothers and loves spending time with her mother, participating in fashion shows as well as attend swimming therapy. Ayesha currently attends P.S. 217 (The Colonel David Marcus School) and enjoys reading, math and socializing with her peers. Through all adversity, Ayesha continues to be extremely eager, curious and is willing to achieve her educational, developmental and overall personal goals.
At just 11 months old, Luke developed a blood clot on his spinal cord - a rare condition affecting roughly 30 kids in the entire world. Luke was paralyzed from the waist down and couldn't breathe on his own. After months of effort, intensive treatment, and lots of love from family and friends, Luke is making incredible progress in our Locomotor Training to improve his mobility. St. Mary's is the only facility in the New York area with both the equipment and the trained professional staff able to offer this groundbreaking therapy to Luke and other kids with similar conditions! Luke continues to make big strides every day and is St. Mary's Locomotor Program's little superhero!
For Emma and her family, St. Mary's has been a very special place. Emma was a healthy, active 6-year old girl, when suddenly her left leg became completely paralyzed. Emma was diagnosed with Acute Flaccid Paralysis - a serious nervous system condition affecting the spinal cord - she now receives intensive rehabilitation therapy at St. Mary's Hospital for Children. Every day Emma reaches new milestones and we are all so proud of how hard she works and how far she has come.
Born prematurely at just 25 weeks, Danielle weighed less than two pounds. She spent the first six months of life in an intensive care unit where she was also treated for Chronic Lung Disease. At six months she was placed on a ventilator and needed a trachea and feeding tube. Luckily, for Danielle and her family she was able to continue her care at home. Now a preschooler in St. Mary's Early Education program, Danielle continues to grow and thrive. For Danielle, St. Mary's Early Education program has been a place where she feels safe, happy and it is a positive learning environment that she flourishes in. Danielle continues to make significant progress in her development and her family and St. Mary's staff are all proud with the progress she has made.
Ashley is a 2.5-year-old little girl with a heart of gold and a smile that can light up any room. She was born premature due to a complicated and extremely high risk pregnancy. Ashley presented with feeding difficulties since birth and when she was 5 months old she had a stroke. Ashley's family knew she needed the best care and they brought her to St. Mary's Hospital for Children. Ashley received intensive rehabilitation and feeding therapy. When Ashley was discharged from St. Mary's, her family chose their home care as their early intervention agency. St Mary's continues to provide Ashley with feeding therapy, Ashley recently completed a day patient feeding program through a scholarship program.
Ashley has been a miracle since the day she was born. She works hard and she continues to make progress daily. Her family is forever grateful to the dedicated staff at St Mary's Hospital for Children.
Ruben is a 17 year old boy who joined our Medical Day Healthcare (MDHC) program in June 2010. Ruben receives physical, occupational and speech therapy to work on improving his communication and overall independence. In the past, Ruben had limited interaction with his peers, difficulty transitioning to his therapies and had low motivation, now he is able to transition with little prompting, engages with his peers and staff members and demonstrates improved willingness to work toward his therapy goals.
Ruben has made great strides in all aspects of the program especially with his rehabilitation goals. His physical therapist have seen great improvements in his endurance, including his ability to walk more with close supervision. His most recent accomplishment is seen during meal time, previously Ruben was receiving nutrition by g-tube, now he is able to eat and drink by mouth. Ruben does very well with trying various foods and looks forward to meal time with his peers and family. He is beginning to take initiative with using his utensils and is eager to learn how to cut his own food.
The MDHC team and his peers are so proud of Ruben’s accomplishments.
Dontay, is a 15-year-old boy who joined the Medical Day Healthcare (MDHC) program in June 2013 and was often to himself and had difficulty communicating and interacting with his peers. Dontay receives physical, speech and occupational therapy to work on various goals and to improve his overall independence, and since starting the program, Dontay continues to meet his goals daily.
When Dontay began at MDHC, he was on a pureed diet and we had a difficult time finding foods he could eat, now he is eating solid foods and is still expanding his pallet. His speech therapist have been working on his communication and because of Dontay’s hard work, we have seen great improvements; Dontay is able to express himself more clearly and interact with others. Dontay is also meeting his goals in occupational and physical therapy; in occupational therapy, he is making improvements in sequencing, memory and recall, he has also learned his address and phone number. In physical therapy, he is highly motivated and has displayed improvements in strength and endurance.
The MDHC team has seen Dontay exude confidence since beginning the program. He is social, outgoing, and a happy teenager who now loves to sing karaoke and performing for others. We are so proud of all of Dontay’s hard work.
Learn more about St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children.