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Winthrop University Hospital

Department of External Affairs
Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Courtney Allison
Publications Specialist
(516) 663-2234


New York Islanders visited the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop to give gifts and spread holiday cheer.

Westbury resident Justin Brown is visited by players from the New York Islanders.
The New York Islanders brightened the days of hospitalized children at Winthrop-University Hospital on December 18, when goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, defenseman Andrew MacDonald, left wing Thomas Vanek and center Peter Regin came to visit the Children’s Medical Center to give gifts, sign autographs and spread cheer among young patients who need to be in the Hospital this holiday season.

“It’s tough to see kids in these types of situations,” MacDonald said. “It can be difficult for the parents too, but they really appreciate it. From a player perspective, being able to put a smile on their faces is pretty special and it’s an experience for us that we don’t forget. We really enjoy doing these visits and we take a lot from them.”

For their annual visit, the players first stopped by Winthrop’s Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Center and the Child Life playroom. Next on their list was the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop, where children undergoing treatment came to the lobby to take photos, choose presents and were able to get their favorite player’s autograph. The players went from room to room in each location delivering presents they’d chosen themselves at Toys “R” Us earlier that week.

“Each year our patients and their families are truly touched by the organization’s thoughtfulness and each player’s kindness and warmth,” said Nicole Almeida, Director of the Child Life Program at Winthrop. “We are both lucky and grateful to participate in this event each holiday season.”

Winthrop’s Child Life Program is dedicated to helping children understand and cope with the hospital experience. Certified Child Life Specialists utilize therapeutic play, arts and crafts, entertainment and playful education to ensure that the hospital experience is as stress-free as possible for children and their families. Child Life Specialists are available in the Hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Unit, the Cancer Center for Kids Outpatient Center, the Pediatric Specialty Center and the Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Center.

For more information about Pediatric Services at Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP or visit

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