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Making Memories

Sail4Kids Make a Memory Cruise

Maria Fareri Children's Hospital

American Yacht Club

Taking children from the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital out for a sail

In a pilot program we called "Making Memories", three children with diabetes, their parents, and a diabetes nurse educator went out for a sail to view the fleet of boats racing in the American Yacht Club Fall Regatta. And that was the beginning of what became Sail4Kids, an annual event hosted by American Yacht Club and the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital.

The second weekend of this event each year is dedicated to the Wachovia Cup benefit for the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital of the Westchester Medical Center. It occurred to us that a great deal was being done for the hospital, but there was more that could and should be done for the children. We thought we could invite several children out for a sail on the Sound to provide a brief diversion and perhaps create a lasting memory that might help ease the burdens from time to time. The children were to be encouraged to take part in the sailing activities and would be under adult and medical supervision the entire time.

You can tell by the broad smiles that to call the event a great success would be an understatement. The children each proved how very special they are. They taught us all about what it takes to live with diabetes, and what it means to be a regular kid with regular goals in an irregular world. Moreover, they taught us what it means to be truly brave.

What we did not envision was how important this time would be for the parents, who not only had a chance to relax a bit - perhaps for the first time in a long time - but also had the opportunity to bond with each other in an informal environment. And we certainly could not have foreseen how important the whole thing would be to us. We got more out of it than we ever expected. Aside from learning a great deal about diabetes from the children, who were eager to teach us all about it, we learned how important a seemingly small gift can be. We feel blessed to have been given this wonderful memory. Thank you to all.


Maria Fareri Children's Hospital sets the new standard for children's hospitals. It is the fulfillment of a vision for a family-centered facility that combines the highest-level care possible in the most supportive and therapeutic environment that could be constructed. Dedicated to the notion that families are the most important partners in the healing process, Maria Fareri Children's Hospital has been developed as a benchmark for children's hospitals around the world for decades to come.

The Maria Fareri Children's Hospital is unlike any hospital I have ever seen - or even heard of. Beginning with a real locomotive built into the facade that serves as a restaurant, and a giant aquarium in the lobby that you actually walk through and under, the whole feel of the place is one of childhood playfulness. Yes, it's a center for world class medicine, but with the patients and their families in mind. The different wings were built with themes that give the children a chance to explore different worlds away from the sterile medical theaters. One world features sailing and takes them aboard a ship interior, another puts them in the middle of a collection of sports memorabilia, still another lets them climb aboard real fire engines just like the heroes do. There are huge doll collections and shadow box exhibits. And many of the children's rooms are designed to allow the parents to stay right there with them. How comforting that must be! There are internet stations throughout and comfortable sitting areas for lounging with friends. To go along with the facilities are an amazing group of caring individuals.

Please visit the hospital website and learn more about this superbly human medical facility.


 


     
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