The Cancer Center for Kids at NYU Winthrop Hospital was a spooky place as Spirit Halloween, a specialty retailer, hosted a Halloween party for pediatric cancer patients and their families. Costumes, games and crafts were part of the magic to help children transcend above challenging situations for a day of scary fun. The “Spirit of Children” party was among nearly 100 Halloween parties hosted by Spirit Halloween at pediatric hospitals across the country. The Spirit of Children program also raises funds through customer donations at local stores and online, in addition to contributions from vendors and business partners. To date, the program has raised more than $510,000 for the Child Life program at the Cancer Center for Kids at NYU Winthrop Hospital. The program is dedicated to helping children understand and cope with the hospital experience including through therapeutic play, arts and crafts, entertainment and other diversions.
“As our young patients face complex challenges, we strive to provide a nurturing environment that promotes healing,” said Mark Weinblatt, MD, chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at NYU Winthrop and director of the CCFK. “The Spirit of Children party helped serve that purpose, providing children a wonderful diversion from the rigors of medical treatments.”
Spirit Halloween store volunteers were on hand to stir up a stormy brew of amusing entertainment, which included a ring toss on to a large witch’s hat, pumpkin painting, mask decorating, picking out costumes to don, and much more. During the Halloween season in Spirit Halloween stores, customers ring an iconic purple cowbell each time a donation is made to Spirit of Children as part of its #MoreCowbell initiative.
“We see first-hand how our parties create magic that transcends the kids’ difficult situations and provides a sense of normalcy as families navigate through challenging and heart-wrenching medical situations,” added Steven Silverstein, president and CEO of Spirit Halloween. “Every child should be able to experience the joy of Halloween.”
The Cancer Center for Kids at NYU Winthrop Hospital offers a range of early detection, diagnostic, intervention and treatment services, both inpatient and outpatient, for children’s cancers and blood disorders. Dramatic improvements have been made in pediatric cancer patient survival, with nearly 80 percent of children cured of their malignancies. Conditions treated at the Center include leukemia and lymphomas; bone, soft tissue and brain tumors; hemophilia; sickle cell disease and more.
—Submitted by NYU Winthrop