2023 Go the Distance Distance Walk and Family Fun Day Successful Despite the Rain

Despite the rain, hundreds of families from across the Hudson Valley turned out on Sunday, September 24 to support Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital for its biggest fundraiser of the year. Led by three former patients, The Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day started with a one-mile walk around the hospital campus in Valhalla. Each child overcame serious illness at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, which cares for more than 30,000 seriously ill and injured children annually. The walk was followed by activities including music, vendor booths, carnival games, food and more. 

Westchester Medical Center hosts US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for Announcement on Mom’s Matter Act to Support Pregnant Women and Moms

The United States continues to have the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, driven in large part by the high mortality rates among women of color. Gillibrand’s approach would support mothers at every step of their maternal health care journey and help address racial disparities in maternal health by awarding grants to grow and diversify the maternal health workforce and working to eliminate racial bias in maternal care.

The leaders were joined by Assemblymember MaryJane Shimsky, Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, WMCHealth President and CEO Michael Israel, Westchester Medical Center OB/GYN Director Dr. Sean Tedjarati and Dr. Catherine Daniels-Brady, psychiatrist at WMCHealth Behavioral Health Center.

“More people in the United States die from pregnancy-related complications than in any of our peer countries — this is outrageous and downright shameful. We must do more to support and listen to women and pregnant people at every step of their maternal health journey,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m fighting to include nearly $180 million in the end-of-year spending bill to help implement evidence-based health care standards for all women, no matter their race or ethnicity. I’m also pushing to pass the Moms Matter Act to provide critical mental health and substance use disorder support to pregnant people and moms. I will never stop fighting to ensure every mother is heard and gets high-quality health care — no matter their race, socioeconomic status, or zip code.”  

“The Moms Matter Act, sponsored by Senator Gillibrand, represents a crucial step towards addressing the longstanding gap in mental health and overall well-being support for new mothers who have been historically underserved and excluded from accessing these vital resources,” stated New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “In our unwavering commitment to reproductive health, maternal care, and favorable pregnancy outcomes, my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Majority and I are dedicated to ensuring that every individual has unfettered access to life-saving information and high-quality care. We are equally devoted to enhancing and fortifying available resources to ensure that pregnant individuals across the state receive the comprehensive care they deserve. I applaud Senator Gillibrand for her invaluable contribution through this legislation and her tireless efforts to support mothers, not only in New York but also throughout our nation.”

“The bill proposed by U.S. Senator Gillibrand is coming at a crucial time in this country’s history as we are seeing increasing rates of mental health and substance use disorder among disenfranchised pregnant women leading to illness and even death,” said Michael D. Israel, President and CEO of Westchester Medical Center Health Network. “This bill aligns nicely with our recently launched Center for Women’s Health Equity which seeks to proactively eliminate the social, economic, cultural and racial determinants of health that can result in increased morbidity and mortality rates among pregnant women across the Hudson Valley. We applaud the Senator for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working with her now and into the future to address this public health crisis.”

Senator Gillibrand’s Moms Matter Act would establish two grant programs to support moms with maternal mental health conditions or substance use disorders by investing in community-based programs that provide mental and behavioral health treatments. Additionally, the bill would provide funding for programs to grow and diversify the maternal mental and behavioral health care workforce in an effort to ensure quality, culturally competent health care. 

For more information on the bill, please click here.

Larry’s Story: Ten Years Later and Still Grateful 

It’s been nearly a decade since Larry Palant had emergency cardiac catheterization at Good Samaritan Hospital. But his gratitude for the staff in our Emergency Department, the Active International Cardiovascular Institute and others at the hospital remains deep.

Larry came to the ED with crushing chest pain. A cardiac evaluation showed that his troponin levels were high, indicating a heart attack. Larry was brought to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab where he received two stents. 

Then, age 62, the Suffern resident had no prior heart issues and no known family history of cardiac disease. 

Larry was discharged for follow up care with Metropolitan Cardiology in Suffern. He required a third stent later that year. Since then, he continues to feel great.

“The quality of care at Good Sam is terrific,” Larry said. “We are fortunate to have this hospital here in Rockland County! Good Samaritan has grown over the years from a local resource that you once relied on mostly for emergencies to a state-of-the-art facility with many advanced capabilities, including an impressive roster of doctors who are part of Bon Secours Medical Group.” 

Larry is thankful that he is healthy and active. Retired from his property management company, he now focuses on Suffern Rotary Club activities. He also is the former Rotary district governor, where he oversaw 55 Rotary Clubs in the Lower Hudson Valley.  Larry loves his time with his wife, children and grandchildren and enjoys cooking and baking for family and friends. 

“Knowing that we have such quality care, literally around the corner from my home, is extremely reassuring,” Larry said. “Local hospitals, like Good Samaritan, rely on community support, both financially and through the continued use of its practitioners. Over the course of the last few years, my wife and I have switched to many Bon Secours Medical Group practices because it provides a single point of reference that makes our continuity and coordination of care very easy. And when warranted, we recommend them to friends.”

Join Larry and show your gratitude at Give.WMCHealth.org/GSH.

Share your story at InfoBSCH@wmhealth.org.

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Clifford’s Story: Thoughtful Donor, Grateful Patient, Champion of Miracles and Five and One-Half Years Cancer Free

When Clifford Nyman learned that he had prostate cancer, he chose Dr. Fraiman at Good Samaritan Hospital. Even though he lives in Eastchester, a little less than an hour from Suffern, he said that the car rides were worth every minute.

“Dr. Fraiman came highly recommended. I was assured that he is an authority on prostate cancer and that he is extremely compassionate,” Cliff said. “I also was told that at Good Samaritan Hospital, I would receive personalized, attentive care. The recommendations were spot on. Everyone on staff, from Dr. Fraiman to the radiology techs and nurses made it clear that they were there to help me, and that meant the world to me.”

Cliff emphasized that his experiences confirmed that Good Samaritan is big enough to provide a broad range of advanced services, but small enough to treat patients like family.

“My Christian faith gave me tremendous strength. The whole experience of beating cancer has been a miracle,” Cliff said.

“I am so grateful to be five and one-half years cancer free!”

As a donor, Cliff said that charitable gifts help Good Samaritan Hospital continually offer state-of-the-art care. “I make it a point to contribute regularly. I also appreciate everyone else who gives what they can because it is true: every donation makes a difference.”

Join Clifford and show your gratitude at Give.WMCHealth.org/GSH.

Share your story at InfoBSCH@wmhealth.org.

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Rabbi Robert’s Story: Celebrating Life, Family and Gratitude

“I want to keep saying, ‘Thank You,‘ over and over again,” said Rabbi Robert Lam. “I am alive and healthy because I got the care I needed at the right time and the right place, and for that my gratitude is overwhelming!”

The 65-year-old Pomona resident recalled that his wife wasted no time in calling for an ambulance when he told her that he felt intense pressure on his chest. He said, “The EMTs from Hatzoloh EMS of Rockland brought me to Good Samaritan’s Emergency Department. That is when it was confirmed that I was having a heart attack and needed a stent right away.”

Rabbi Lam said that he has recovered nicely and feels well. He expressed deep appreciation for every person who did what was necessary to help him. “I am so fortunate that Good Samaritan’s doctors were able to save my life. I also am thankful to all the other staff at the hospital who took such good care of me and made my experience there as pleasant as possible.” 

Knowing that philanthropy helps the hospital continue to invest in patient care, Rabbi Lam reflected on the importance of tzedakah, the Hebrew word used to signify charity. “Community support for the hospital benefits all of us,” he said. “Good Samaritan goes beyond saving the life of the patient. When you save one person, you save a whole family and a community.”

Join Rabbi Lam and show your gratitude at Give.WMCHealth.org/GSH.

Share your story at InfoBSCH@wmhealth.org.

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Donna’s Story: An Exceptional Experience

“I had an exceptional experience at Good Samaritan! 

“The orthopedic program staff make everything easy, from pre-surgery testing to post-surgery follow up. Their surgeons use state-of-the-art techniques to ensure great outcomes. I can now walk pain free. I can go to affairs and dance pain free. Before I could only watch.” — Donna Gorman Silberman, Rockland County Clerk and Grateful Patient

Join Donna and show your gratitude at Give.WMCHealth.org/GSH.

Share your story at InfoBSCH@wmhealth.org.

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Randy’s Story: Ten Years Later and Still Grateful 

For more than 30 years, Randy Klipstein has made annual donations to Good Samaritan Hospital. He says that he does it to remember his friends. 

Randy’s memories of Good Samaritan go back to childhood in the 1970s when, over an extended period, his mother received care here for breast cancer. 

“On Sundays my family would bring The New York Times Crossword Puzzle to Mom at Good Sam,” Randy said. “When a top Good Samaritan administrator, who also loved crosswords, heard about ‘the patient who was a crossword whiz,’ she visited Mom weekly so they could work on the puzzles together. But that’s not what I remember most.”

Randy recalled that in 1973, the hospital gave each patient a corsage during a Christmas party. “By this time, my mother was too sick to wear her corsage. But my father kept that flower prominently displayed in his home for more than twenty years, for the rest of his life,” he said.  “I know that there was no possession that he cherished more.  When I asked him about it, he said that ‘he doesn’t forget his friends.’”

It’s been over forty-five years since Randy’s mother was given that gift. He has since moved away from Rockland County but continues to donate to Good Samaritan. “I remember my friends, too.”

Join Randy and show your gratitude at Give.WMCHealth.org/GSH.

Share your story at InfoBSCH@wmhealth.org.

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John’s Story: God Bless Good Samaritan Hospital!

“God Bless Good Samaritan Hospital! My family and I deeply appreciate Good Sam’s cardiac team for the excellent care they provided when I was there for quadruple bypass surgery,” said John Sovak. “Knowing that charitable gifts really do make a difference for the hospital, we are only too happy to support its Foundation.”

After experiencing cardiac symptoms, the Suffern resident learned that he needed coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). Cary Passik, MD performed the surgery, which diverted blood around the narrowed and clogged parts of John’s major arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to his heart. 

“My clearest and most powerful memory of my time in the cardiovascular intensive care unit is how caring and kind the staff members were. They were responsive, thorough and authentically compassionate. It also was a big plus that I was able to have my surgery and follow up care close to home,” John said.

John emphasizes the value of philanthropy to Good Samaritan, “Donations from our Rockland County community help save lives for local residents like me.”

Join John and show your gratitude at Give.WMCHealth.org/GSH.

Share your story at InfoBSCH@wmhealth.org.

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John’s Story: Good Samaritan, Where You’re Treated Like Family

John Kroog and his wife Nancy say that when they walk into Good Samaritan Hospital, they have come to a place where the staff warmly welcomes them. He said, “Good Samaritan provides excellent care and they also treat you like family,” John has had several inpatient stays at Good Samaritan and though his memory of time in the hospital during the longest admissions is fuzzy, he does have clarity recalling how kind the nurses, personal care assistants and other staff were to him. 

Nancy’s memories of the care her husband received are crisp. Every person on our care team was skilled and professional and, equally important, caring and kind,” she said. “They took the time to communicate the details of John’s care and his progress with me and our children, and they patiently and clearly answered our questions.” 

When they consider the impact of charitable giving from local businesses and individuals on Good Samaritan’s ongoing investments in patient care, John’s message to donors is concise, “Your money is well spent. It helps make this is a great hospital.”

Join John and show your gratitude at Give.WMCHealth.org/GSH.

Share your story at InfoBSCH@wmhealth.org.

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Phyllis’s Story: Strong Connections Lead to Deep Gratitude

“If you’ve made charitable gifts to the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation, we may have spoken over the phone. I volunteer to call donors and thank them for their gifts. At Good Samaritan, we want to share our gratitude for your support.

“I have strong emotional connections to Good Sam. Raising three sons and growing older with my husband here, it has always been our hospital. It’s part of our family history, from the birth of our youngest son to the life-saving surgery our middle son needed as an infant. When I drive by the building on Lafayette Avenue, I still see the window I looked out while waiting for him to wake up from surgery.

“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, my emotional connections with the hospital were critical to my patient experiences, from diagnosis to surgery and from subsequent treatment to recovery.

“We are so fortunate to have Good Samaritan in our ‘backyard.’ The care we can receive here is, in part, in our hands — so let’s all do what we can, small or large, to help make sure Good Samaritan continues to provide the care we need.”

Join Phyllis and show your gratitude at Give.WMCHealth.org/GSH.

Share your story at InfoBSCH@wmhealth.org.

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