MOUNTAINSIDE — Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation celebrated the 25th anniversary of its annual Umbrella Gala at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Oct. 16. Supporters helped raise a record setting $390,000 to fund the hospital’s newest outpatient care center in Newark.
Children’s Specialized Hospital is the largest pediatric rehabilitation system of its kind in the nation. The outpatient center in Newark, scheduled to open in 2013, will offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech, psychology and physician services and allow hundreds of families to receive access to services closer to home.
The gala committee selected Investors Bank as this year’s honoree and their president and CEO Kevin Cummings graciously accepted this special honor.
Drummers With Attitude, a high school percussion group from Pennsylvania, found the beat on plastic tubs and greeted guests as they made their way into the stadium. Current New York Giant Bear Pascoe and former New York Giants Bill Ard, Don Herrmann, Scott David, Brian Saxton, Stephen Baker and Scott Brunner attended the celebration as over 330 guests filled the Toyota Club with field level access. Supporters bid on silent auction items and tossed around the football on the field.
Michael Harrison, Esq., gala committee chairman and Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation trustee, says this year’s team focus at the Umbrella Gala is a perfect metaphor for the hospital.
“Children’s Specialized Hospital works like a well-run team. I’m proud to be associated with such a winning organization that tirelessly works to support patients in need of care. The committee has generously donated their time to make this gala a huge win for the kids.”
The celebration continued with a short speakers’ program which featured two former Children’s Specialized Hospital patients. Ali Stroker, a former patient, sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and shared her story of recovery after a nearly fatal car accident. Ali has found success in the performing arts and most recently was a finalist in the “Glee Project.” Jessica Galli, a four-time Para-Olympian, shared her story and her recent success winning a bronze medal and representing the United States at the 2012 Games in London on the track and field team. Both Stroker and Galli suffered spinal cord injuries at very young ages and both received rehabilitative care at Children’s Specialized Hospital.
The foundation offered special appreciation to the gala’s major sponsors BASF, L’Oreal, Investors Bank, Michael Harrison, Prudential, and CR Bard.
Gala chairman Michael Harrison is joined by committee members Alan Blake; John Boyle; Annette Catino; Kevin Cummings; John A. Deford, PhD; Leonard Gannet; Karen Hess; Margaret Hollywood; Anne Hoskins; Tom M. Kay; Thomas Koestler, PhD; Joe Lamendola; Morris Lenczicki; Stella Matteace-Esposito; Jeffrey Rosen; Neal Rotenberg; Barbara Rothman; Anita J. Siegel, ESQ.; Debbie Spicehandler; Donald Witmondt; Phil Salerno III; and Nicholas Boccella.
Children’s Specialized Hospital is the preeminent provider of rehabilitation services for children with special needs. The hospital serves children affected by brain injury, spinal cord injury, premature birth, autism, developmental delays, and life-changing illnesses. Children’s Specialized Hospital has nine sites in New Jersey and treats 19,000 children each year, making it the largest pediatric rehabilitation system of its kind in the nation.
Services include outpatient services, acute rehabilitation, and long-term care through its sites in Bayonne, Clifton, Egg Harbor Township, Mountainside, Toms River, Fanwood, Hamilton, New Brunswick and Roselle Park as well as outreach programs in many communities. Children’s Specialized Hospital is a proud member of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation supports the programs and services of the hospital. The Foundation is ranked among the top six pediatric hospital foundations in the country. For more information, visit www.childrens-specialized.org.