With Halloween just around the corner, Spirit Halloween stores brought the spirit and the costume fun of Halloween to the children in St. Mary’s Hospital.
St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children hosted their third annual Spirit of the Children program sponsored by Spirit Halloween which was created for youths who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in fall festivities like Halloween due to illness, special needs, and life-limiting conditions.
Pumpkins, coloring books, and over 100 costumes were donated to 97 of St. Mary’s children, both live- in patients, and others in the rehabilitation program.
Brian Santana is a 13 year-old patient at St. Mary’s, who is rehabilitating from hip- replacement surgery.
“I think the activities at St. Mary’s are great. I’m having fun,” said Santana. “There’s always something to do, and you’re never bored. I just love it here! I’m going to miss it.”
Local store managers from Spirit Halloween volunteered at St. Mary’s by coloring, singing and dancing for the children. Nurses, aids and supervisors spent quality time with the children and had lots of Halloween fun.
Spirit of the Children senior vice president, Tony Detzi explained that every dollar collected at their 10 local stores – over $18,000 – goes to the Child-Life Department of St. Mary’s Hospital which oversees the donated funds and disburses them for supplies like Wii consoles, TV’s and other expenses purchased for recreational use in the hospital.
Detzi also explained the funds may also be used to compensate staff aids in the department and for the Autism Program which is severely underfunded.
Francesca Joseph is a Therapeutic Activities assistant (TA) for the recreational department at St. Mary’s Children’s Activity Center. She works with special needs children at various functions and believes the event was a successful and great experience.
“We learn a lot from these kids. I love to see how they grow and develop. I really enjoy working here,” said Joseph.
Supervisor of the Recreational Department, Holly Potoeski explained that “some of these children have been here a few years now,” and that the Halloween program gives them something to look forward to.
To make donations to the children of St. Mary’s Hospital, visit their web site at www.stmaryskids.org