As a former parochial school teacher for over 30 years, Marie SantaCroce has always had a special place in her heart for children. And that only grew after she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 and treated at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital where her sister Joan was her stem cell donor. She was no longer able to teach, but wanted to continue giving back. For the past few years, Marie, her husband, Joe, and sister, Joan have been donating “Josh Dogs” to NYP through volunteer work with the Kings County American Legion Auxiliary in Brooklyn. Josh Dogs are plush golden retrievers developed to help alleviate stress and provide comfort to pediatric patients.
After learning about Hugs for Brady Foundation’s Brady Buggy® Wagons on TV, Marie was inspired to do more than donate Josh Dogs so she held a fundraiser with her American Legion Family Organization to purchase wagons for pediatric patients at NYP. These Brady Buggy Wagons were designed to be both attractive to children as well as functional – for mobility and convenience of towing the IV pole. Pediatric patients who may not have the strength to walk due to cancer treatments, are now able to leave the confinement of their hospital room, ride in a whimsical animal-shaped wagon, while securely and effortlessly pulling the IV poles behind them. Marie loved this idea as she remembers tripping on her IV pole walking down the hallway. Thanks to this generosity, the Komansky Center now has three new Brady Buggy® Wagons for children to have a safe (and fun) means of transportation within the hospital.
The Hugs for Brady Foundation would like to thank the SantaCroce Family and the King’s County American Legion Auxiliary for their generous donations.
Pictured above from left to right: Jeff Schnier, Sharon Granville (Director of Pediatric Services at the NYPH Komansky Children’s Center), Gary Sivco, Marie SantaCroce (Children & Youth Chairman for the Kings County American Legion Auxiliary), Joan Cacao (former Department (State) President for the American Legion Auxiliary), Allison Turkell (Child Life Specialist at the Komansky Children’s Center) and Dr. Gerald (Chairman of the Pediatric Department of NYPH).
“Seeing the buggy in person was a most awesome experience for me and all of us there. I did a lot of volunteer work while I was teaching, and since I couldn’t go back into the classroom after recovery, I get an enormous amount of joy from helping children through my association with the American Legion Auxiliary.” –Marie SantaCroce
Portions of the story above are courtesy of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Facebook Page.