Young patients at Winthrop-University Hospital were all smiles on Wednesday, March 11, when four players from the New York Islanders – defenseman Johnny Boychuck, goaltender Jaroslav Halak, right winger Cal Clutterbuck and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky –stopped by to give gifts, sign autographs, take photos and spread cheer throughout the pediatric unit and in the Hospital’s Cancer Center for Kids.
“We were happy to come down to the hospital today. A lot of these children have been in and out of the hospital going through some tough times,” said Clutterbuck. “Watching their faces light up when we came in and taking their mind off of what they are going through even if for a few minutes was well worth it. This is one of our favorite events of the season.”
For their annual visit, the players first stopped by Winthrop’s Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Center and the Child Life playroom. Next on their list was the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop, where children undergoing treatment came to the lobby to take photos, choose presents and were able to get their favorite player’s autograph.
“Each year our patients and their families are truly touched by the organization’s thoughtfulness and each player’s kindness and warmth,” said Nicole Almeida, director of the Child Life Program at Winthrop. “We are both lucky and grateful to participate in this event.”
Winthrop’s Child Life Program is dedicated to helping children understand and cope with the hospital experience. Certified Child Life Specialists utilize therapeutic play, arts and crafts, entertainment and playful education to ensure that the hospital experience is as stress-free as possible for children and their families. Child Life Specialists are available in the Hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Unit, the Cancer Center for Kids Outpatient Center, the Pediatric Specialty Center and the Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Center.
For more information about Pediatric Services at Winthrop, please call 1-866-WINTHROP or visit www.winthrop.org.