Ralph and Maryann Napolitano know first hand about the frightening experience of having a child diagnosed with cancer. Their son, Jason, was diagnosed with leukemia in 1993. They know all about hospitals. They know all about seemingly endless treatments. They know about doctors and nurses who make miracles happen. They know what it means to love a cancer survivor.
Thanks to wonderful breakthroughs in research and the care of Dr. Mark Weinblatt, Chief, Pediatric Oncology/Hematology and Director of Winthrop's Pediatric Cancer Program, they also know the absolute joy the word remission can elicit. Their son beat the disease and now the family has dedicated their lives to children and families enduring the course in life they once traveled.
In 1994, the Napolitano's founded Jay's World Childhood Cancer Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising funds to help support the fight against childhood cancer. They have been generous supporters of Winthrop-University Hospital's Cancer Center for Kids and now, have pledged a total of $400,000 to Winthrop's Pediatric Fund for the Future to help build four specially-equipped pediatric oncology rooms in the new Pediatric Inpatient Center, to open this spring.
"When children are admitted to the hospital for cancer treatment or for complications, they need rooms that are designed just for the pediatric oncology patient," explained Mr. Napolitano. "Having access to these individual patient rooms means more comfortable treatment for the child and less anxiety for the parents."
The four pediatric oncology rooms will be appropriately called the Jay's World Unit to honor the commitment the Foundation has made not only to Winthrop's new Pediatric Inpatient Center, but also to the children fighting the disease.
The rooms will be bright and cheerful, will include sleep-beds for parents and provide added privacy for patients. All children being treated in Winthrop's new Pediatric Inpatient Center will have access to the most advanced medical technology as well as the compassionate and expert care of Winthrop's Pediatric team.
Added Mr. Napolitano, "Jay's World is proud to be affiliated with such a wonderful hospital. Winthrop puts patient care above everything else."
For more information on Winthrop's Pediatric Fund for the Future, contact the Office of Development at (516) 663-3398.