Standing in a patient's room, watching him enjoy his favorite video game on a brand new flat screen television, equipped with an X-box One, Josephine Pedone feels something very special. Ms. Pedone, who has come to NYU Winthrop's Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Center, is witnessing a long-time vision to honor the memory of her son, Nicholas, an avid gamer who tragically lost his battle to stage 3 neuroblastoma in 2013, come to fruition.
Mark Weinblatt, MD, Chief of Pediatric Oncology/Hematology, and Director of the CCFK (left); Josephine Pedone, Founder of the Nicholas Pedone Foundation (second from left); and Michelle Capobianco, Board Memeber, Nicholas Pedone Foundation (right); join with a patient, who enjoyed playing hockey with Xbox One on a brand new flat screen television, thanks to the generous donation made by the Nicholas Pedone Foundation.
"A part of Nicholas is now here," she said.
After Nicholas' passing, Josephine and Nick Pedone founded the Nicholas Pedone Foundation in their son's honor, and its mission is clear – to deliver smiles to courageous kids who are fighting cancer and encourage them to always Fight Hard, Smile Big.
Wanting to give back to the local Hospital where Nicholas, a patient of NYU Winthrop's Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK), spent many of his days during treatment, the Foundation decided to fund its first project at NYU Winthrop. Now, their generous donation of $25,000 towards the "Game on" Project has helped to complete a major television and gaming system upgrade in each of the private rooms within the Hospital's Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Center, where CCFK patients like Nicholas, spend their time during hospital admissions. This includes eight 46-inch flat screen televisions, equipped with Xbox One game consoles, new wiring for the systems, as well as an extensive game and video equipment library.
(l-r) Nicole Almeida, CCLS, Director of the Child Life Program; Michelle Capobianco; Leonard Krilov, MD, Chairman of Pediatrics; Mark Weinblatt, MD, Chief of Pediatric Oncology/Hematology, and Director of the CCFK; Josephine Pedone; Stephanie Meier, Assistant Vice President, Women & Children's Services; and Ashley Carlo, Manager of the CCFK
"Nicholas loved his video games so much that often, when staff knew he was being admitted, they made sure to have the then-transportable TV stand and gaming system ready to go in his room," said Ms. Pedone. "We wanted to make sure that every patient undergoing treatment at the Hospital had the opportunity to enjoy playing video games and watching movies in the comfort of their own room, as we know first-hand just how much of a difference that can make."
The Foundation's generosity has no doubt made a lasting impression on both the staff and patients.
"I continue to be amazed by families like the Pedones," said Nicholas’ doctor, Mark Weinblatt, MD, Chief of Pediatric Oncology/Hematology at NYUI Winthrop, and Director of the CCFK. "There is no doubt in my mind that this extraordinary example of selflessness and love will brighten the days of countless patients as they fight hard and smile big."
Furthermore, Ms. Pedone remarked that she even learned of a friend whose family member got to enjoy the new items during a recent Hospital stay.
"We are a local foundation, supported by so many members of the local community," said Ms. Pedone. "It is rewarding to know that those who have supported us are also among those who are being impacted by this project."
For more information about the Nicholas Pedone Foundation, visit www.fighthardsmilebig.org. For more information about pediatric cancer care at Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP or visit www.winthrop.org/cck.