At left, Margaret M. McGovern, MD, PhD, Professor and Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Stony Brook School of Medicine, and Physician-in-Chief at Stony Brook Children’s; and second from right, J. Gerald Quirk, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, Stony Brook School of Medicine, co-chairs of the 2012 March for Babies at Stony Brook University, pose before the walk on May 6 with the event’s “ambassador family,” Peter Theologitis, Ann Marie Theologitis and their daughter, Ava Theologitis, along with Fred Sganga, right, interim Chief Executive Officer of Stony Brook University Hospital.
STONY BROOK, NY, June 5, 2012 – More than a thousand walkers turned out in force for the 2012 March for Babies at Stony Brook University on May 6 with one ambitious goal in mind: beating their fundraising result from 2011. And they did exactly that, raising $322,000 to surpass last year’s total of $305,900.
Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital and the March of Dimes partnered to conduct the event for the second consecutive year. Stony Brook employees raised $31,100 of this year’s record total.
Leading the way as co-chairs of this year’s event were Margaret M. McGovern, MD, PhD, Professor and Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Stony Brook School of Medicine, and Physician-in-Chief at Stony Brook Children’s; and J. Gerald Quirk, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, Stony Brook School of Medicine, who also co-chaired last year’s successful walk.
“This event is a wonderful opportunity for our patients to reconnect with each other and with our staff at Stony Brook Children’s,” said Dr. McGovern. “It’s also a great opportunity for the community to learn more about the remarkable care provided here every day for the children of Long Island at Suffolk County’s only children’s hospital.”
“Each year the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Stony Brook Children’s treats more than a thousand premature babies,” Dr. Quirk added. “Participating in the walk is a great way to make a difference in the lives of families like the Theologitises who have been touched deeply and forever by the care we provide.”
Ava Theologitis, daughter of Ann Marie and Peter Theologitis of Lake Grove, who served as the “ambassador family” for the March for Babies held on May 6 at Stony Brook University
The “march” route spanned the circumference of the Stony Brook University main campus, beginning at the Athletic Fields adjacent to the new outdoor track facility. A shorter route was provided this year for families with children in strollers or others who preferred a shorter walk.
The “ambassador family” for this year’s event was the Theologitis family of Lake Grove. Ann Marie Theologitis gave birth three months prematurely to identical twin sons and a daughter at Stony Brook Children’s in 2010. Although the boys, Niko and Alex, did not survive, her daughter, Ava, survived and thrived, thanks to the expert care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Now Theologitis volunteers in the NICU to give back to families who face similar situations.
“We were so blessed with the resources that were available to us during the most intense time of our life that I wanted to give back,” Theologitis said. “Today I serve as a resource to women in the NICU going through what I went through. I know what it means. I talk with the other parents; I cry with them, we keep in touch. Although every situation is different, to have someone who has been there walking beside them makes the journey a little easier.”
The March of Dimes helps ease the journey for parents of more than half a million babies born prematurely each year, including more than 120,000 babies with serious birth defects. For every dollar a walker raises, the March of Dimes spends 76 cents to support research and programs designed to help babies begin healthy lives. Since 1970, March of Dimes has been walking with its supporters and has raised $1.8 billion.
About Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital:
Established in June 2010, Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital is Suffolk County’s only children’s hospital. More than 7,000 children and adolescents are admitted each year. Stony Brook Children’s operates 100 pediatric beds and has more than 100 full-time pediatric physicians and surgeons and over 200 voluntary pediatric faculty members in 30 different specialties. The hospital is the Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center for our area and has a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is home to the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center and also offers a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, Pediatric Cardiology Program, Pediatric HIV and AIDS Center, Cystic Fibrosis Center and the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. To learn more, visit www.stonybrookchildrens.org.