Attend an Event from the Comfort of Your Couch
A Race to the Finish Line with the Run for Sue Committee
The 10th Anniversary Race of the Annual Susan Zabransky Hughes Memorial Run was held virtually this year on April 24. Saddle River and other local communities gathered their friends and family to run or walk as a team. The race raised more than $65,000 and counting to benefit various initiatives at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. To read about the run’s success, click here.
Hit the Links with the Foundation
Hackensack Meridian Raritan Bay Medical Center Foundation’s Golf Outing is days away on May 3. To register, click here. In addition, Hackensack Meridian Ocean Medical Center Foundation’s Golf Outing is coming up on Monday, June 14. To register, click here. Both will be held at the prestigious Manasquan River Golf Club in Brielle, NJ. To learn more, please contact Paige Cooper, strategic events coordinator, at Paige.Cooper@hmhn.org. More to come on our other summer golf outings soon!
Tackle Kids Cancer with Eli Manning in a Virtual 5K
Get moving and join #TeamTKC Captain Eli Manning for a virtual 5k to benefit Tackle Kids Cancer in its inaugural virtual race and fundraising challenge! Thanks to a matching gift from Eli, community support will have double the impact. To register, click here. To learn more, please contact Lauren Willis, executive director of annual giving, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our events team is actively working on planning our 2021 network-wide events and celebrations. For a full listing of events, please click here.
Thriver, Not a Survivor
In early March 2020, 38-year-old Paulo Santos caught the last train out of Washington, D.C., before the shutdown of the nation’s Capital due to the pandemic. A few days later, he fell ill.
By mid-March, his fever was so high that he began hallucinating, and as a result, was brought to CentraState Medical Center’s Emergency Department where he was admitted following a positive COVID-19 test and double pneumonia diagnosis.
On March 23, Paulo stopped breathing. He was placed on a ventilator and his survival was uncertain. Luckily, Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center had recently been approved to begin testing Remdesivir on COVID-19 patients; the difficult decision was made to transfer him to the Neptune-based hospital.
For two weeks, Paulo struggled on a ventilator. Miraculously, on April 7, his 39th birthday, his vital signs were strong enough to take him off of the machine that had been breathing for him. When he awoke, he had lost 45 pounds and was unable to walk, but to the amazement of family, friends and his medical teams, Paulo was discharged home on April 10.
To strengthen his body and lungs, he began running. With one foot in front of the other and sheer determination, Paulo began increasing his distance. It was then that his idea to turn his gratitude into action began to take shape. Paulo decided to run the 20 miles from CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, as a fundraiser to express his gratitude to the health care heroes who saved his life.
Despite a COVID-related heart attack in September that set him back, on April 10, a year from the date he was discharged home, and a few days following his 40th birthday, Paulo made the journey. Sent on his way by his care team at CentraState and greeted by roaring applause by caregivers at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Paulo completed the run in 4 hours.
With his battle behind him, Paulo is only looking forward, embracing life and practicing gratitude. “I’m a thriver, not a survivor,” Paulo says of his recovery and run. And how grateful we are to have met this incredible thriver and to be a part of his epic journey.
To contribute to Paulo’s Go Fund Me, which will be shared between CentraState Medical Center and Jersey Shore University Medical Center, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/thank-you-to-our-covid19-heroes.
A New Year’s Eve Jam to Benefit the Organ Transplant Division at Hackensack University Medical Center
At 8-years-old, Amy Didner was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As she grew, she faced erratic blood sugars and constantly worried about managing her care and sugar levels. When she suffered kidney failure as a result of her disease in 2015, Jason, her husband, donated one of his kidneys to save her life at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center.
When Amy learned that a pancreas transplant could potentially rid her of diabetes, she became intrigued. After a consultation with her care team, and new medical developments within transplantation, Amy became the first pancreas transplant recipient at Hackensack University Medical Center in 2018. Both Amy and Jason were moved by the compassionate care they both received during their respective procedures and kept in touch with their physicians.
Upon hearing that the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Organ Transplantation Division at the medical center to pause research and reallocate funds, Amy and Jason quickly came up with a plan to help. Jason performed a virtual concert on New Year’s Eve to benefit Hackensack University Medical Center and all of the heroes on the Organ Transplant team. Those who tuned into Jason’s concert started their New Year’s Eve celebration with classic rock tunes, covers and Didner originals, and Jason and Amy raised $2,000 to support team member education.
As we observe National Donate Life Month this April, we honor those like Jason, and other organ donors, who give the gift of life through their courageous acts of selflessness and bravery. We applaud Amy and Jason for thinking of our exceptional transplant team and finding a way to give back to those who made an impact in their lives.
Make-A-Wish New Jersey Grants a Wish with a Giant Surprise
When two-year-old Tackle Kids Cancer (TKC) MVP (most valiant patient) Penelope came to Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Children’s Cancer Institute last summer, team members were blown away by her energetic spirit and bright smile. She loved to sing and was happy to show off her dance moves to anyone who was willing to watch.
Sadly, Penelope passed away in February after her courageous battle with neuroblastoma, a very rare cancer. Before she passed, Penelope and her parents, Cassandra and Jack, made a wish with Make-A-Wish New Jersey in hopes that a donation could be made to Tackle Kids Cancer that would benefit all children undergoing pediatric cancer. Funding pediatric cancer research through Tackle Kids Cancer is important to Cassandra and Jack, as only 4% of the national cancer research budget is allocated to pediatric cancer, and only three new cancer drugs were developed for children in the past twenty years.
Earlier this month, Penelope’s wish was granted through a donation to Tackle Kids Cancer to honor her memory and help other children fighting their own battles with pediatric cancer. Make-A-Wish New Jersey and the New York Giants also had an exciting surprise for Penelope’s parents – a special visit from #TeamTKC Captain Eli Manning.
Since 2015, Eli has energized the Tackle Kids Cancer community through Eli’s Challenge, motivating hundreds of groups to join the fight against pediatric cancer and fund education, research and discovery in the search for a cure against this life-threatening disease.
Penelope’s wish will provide Tackle Kids Cancer with essential funds needed to continue critical work in supporting clinical trials and funding innovative patient care and translational research at Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation.
Penelope’s legacy – and animated spirit – will forever live on through the incredible research at the Children’s Cancer Institute and all that is bright. We are so incredibly touched that Penelope and her family thought of Tackle Kids Cancer in making their wish, and we thank Make-A-Wish New Jersey, the New York Giants and our favorite #TeamTKC captain, Eli, for their generosity.
Celebrating the Inserra Family Diabetes Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center
A ribbon-cutting took place on Friday, April 23 to mark the official naming of the Inserra Family Diabetes Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center. We thank our longtime supporter and dear friend Lawrence Inserra, Jr., and his family, for their incredible commitment and generosity in support of diabetes research and patient care. The Inserra Family Diabetes Institute will improve the quality of life and transform the care approach for people with diabetes and related disorders through innovative programs.
“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” – Henry Ward Beecher
Dedicated donors, like you, show gratitude by honoring outstanding caregivers who made a difference in the care and recovery they received through a tax-deductible gift or a special note. We thank all of our donors who have shared their appreciation with us.
To learn how you can honor your caregiver with a gift, contact Danielle Hickson, manager, Grateful Patient Program, at email@example.com.
Honoring the Memory of a Friend
Thank you to the Greenbriar Oceanaire Health & Fitness Club, which recently made a gift to support COVID relief efforts at Hackensack Meridian Southern Ocean Medical Center. The gift was made in conjunction with a dedication ceremony for late Greenbriar resident and Southern Ocean Medical Center volunteer Bill McCrain. What a beautiful way to honor a beloved friend.