Trick and treat — Making Halloween special for pediatric patients was the goal for Maimonides Medical Center and Spirit of Children.
On October 14, the hospital hosted a party for kids battling various illnesses who were treated to costumes, games, and a mascot visit as well as arts and crafts. Staff also got involved in the festive atmosphere by dressing up.
“Spirit of Children threw this amazing party for our patients here. While the children are in the hospital and sick, it gives them a little something to look forward to. They love it,” said Child Life Specialist Alexis Hodges, who was delivering costumes to every child in the pediatric center. “It really uplifts their spirits. It gets them ready for the holiday season. They get costumes to choose from and goodie bags filled with fun holiday treats.”
The Spirit of Children, which started in 2006, also throws Halloween parties to raise money for children. “Our company collects donations in the stores and online where 100 percent of the donations go to Child Life Departments,” said Jason Sandlofer, director of stores at Spirit of Children.
“We’re partnering with 180 hospitals this year and our goal is to raise $5 million this year alone.” Since 2006, the organization has raised over $16 million. “Every penny that we raise goes directly to the kids,” he added.
Children who were healthy enough to participate in the party got to dress up as their favorite superheroes, such as Superman and Batman. They also did some arts and crafts while spending time with friends, family and staff.
Family members were thrilled to see their loved ones forget about their illness and just enjoy the popular children’s holiday.
“He’s been here for a few days and they’re treating him terrifically,” said Stephen Ryan, grandfather of Thomas, who has been to the hospital six times this year. “The staff and the hospital have been great. He is getting better everyday and hopefully tomorrow, he’ll be home. We can’t wait.”
“The nurses here are great. They have a lot of patience,” said Maria Perez, whose grandson, Nathaniel Guerrero, is recovering from appendicitis. “He gets so excited for all the activities. It’s great for the kids who are sick.”
Sandlofer is happy the organization is bringing joy to the local hospital. “As a kid, it’s one of the best days of the year. And unfortunately, a lot of them don’t get to celebrate it because they’re stuck in the hospital and they’re sick,” he explained. “Our heart goes out to them. We don’t like to see these kids sick, but at least we can do something good for them.”