Sisters Karen Helfenstein, Marie Morris, Dorothy Metz, Miriam Kevin Phillips, and Carol Barnes

From left: Sisters Karen Helfenstein, Marie Morris, Dorothy Metz, Miriam Kevin Phillips, and Carol Barnes

The St. Elizabeth Seton Children’s Foundation hosted its fourth annual Cherish the Child Luncheon on May 3, 2018 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, NY. The luncheon was attended by more than 150 guests and surpassed the Foundation’s fundraising goal. Proceeds will benefit Home to Home, the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center’s parent and sibling transportation program.

Sisters of Charity who attended the luncheon were Sisters Karen Helfenstein, Marie Morris, Dorothy Metz, Miriam Kevin Phillips, and Carol Barnes. Sister Carol, who is on the board of the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center, said, “Caring for medically fragile children is a noble ministry. The Sisters of Charity are pleased to share this ministry with dedicated staff whose unconditional love for each child enables the children to reach their full potential. The ability to provide outstanding care is assisted by the contributions of generous donors.”

Home to Home addresses transportation barriers to give Pediatric Center families even more opportunities to visit and be present in their child’s life. Approximately 80 percent of Pediatric Center parents live within the five boroughs of New York City, which is why easing this financial burden is critical. “The concept of ‘home’ is integral to our care model,” said Barbara Rossi, Director of Institutional Advancement. “From both enshrouding our children in a home-like environment to ensuring that we bring what matters most from home – moms, dads, siblings and grandparents—to our children’s ‘home’ at the Pediatric Center, it is our belief that this type of loving care helps create transformational outcomes.”

During the program, grateful parent and Pediatric Center Board Member Rachel Amar shared how the Pediatric Center has been her son Max’s home for the last twelve years and that she fears the devastating reality for what will happen next for Max when he “ages out” of the Pediatric Center at age twenty-one and must move on to a geriatric nursing home. Pat Tursi, CEO, spoke after about her plan to address this crisis through the Pediatric Center’s next endeavor: the nation’s first residential program for medically complex young adults ages 21 to 35. This next home, Tursi explained, is the answer to the intensifying need for a rapidly growing population in New York State and nationwide.

Event co-chairs Shannon O’Neill Gallagher, Esq. and Franco D’Alessandro lauded attendees for their unwavering generosity and staunch support of the Pediatric Center’s mission to better the lives of medically complex children. “Being part of the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center’s Community Engagement Committee is about creating a culture of giving and cultivating another generation of givers,” D’Alessandro said as he addressed the crowd. “It is about honoring the power of ‘word of mouth’ and spreading that word about Seton Pediatric. I was blessed to grow up surrounded by givers, the most generous givers … my parents, the Harringtons, the O’Neills, the Maras, the Pizzos, the Vernis—all of whom are represented here today at the luncheon.”

“We are delighted at the luncheon’s great success,” said O’Neill Gallagher. “Between our longstanding supporters and the many new friends we made, the enthusiasm was palpable. Events like this enable our extraordinary children to lead rich and full lives,” she said.