The Cancer Center for Kids at NYU Winthrop Hospital was a spooky place this week as Spirit Halloween, a specialty retailer, hosted a Halloween party for pediatric cancer patients and their families. Costumes, games and crafts were part of the magic to help children transcend above challenging situations for a day of scary fun.
The “Spirit of Children” party was among nearly 100 Halloween parties hosted by Spirit Halloween at pediatric hospitals across the country. The Spirit of Children program also raises funds through customer donations at local stores and online, in addition to contributions from vendors and business partners.
To date, the program has raised more than $510,000 for the Child Life program at the Cancer Center for Kids at NYU Winthrop Hospital. The program is dedicated to helping children understand and cope with the hospital experience including through therapeutic play, arts and crafts, entertainment and other diversions.
“As our young patients face complex challenges, we strive to provide a nurturing environment that promotes healing,” said Mark Weinblatt, MD, Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at NYU Winthrop and Director of the CCFK. “The Spirit of Children party helped serve that purpose, providing children a wonderful diversion from the rigors of medical treatments.”
Spirit Halloween store volunteers were on hand to stir up a stormy brew of amusing entertainment, which included a ring toss on to a large witch’s hat, pumpkin painting, mask decorating, picking out costumes to don and much more. During the Halloween season in Spirit Halloween stores, customers ring an iconic purple cowbell each time a donation is made to Spirit of Children as part of its #MoreCowbell initiative.
“We see first-hand how our parties create magic that transcends the kids’ difficult situations and provides a sense of normalcy as families navigate through challenging and heart-wrenching medical situations,” added Steven Silverstein, President and CEO of Spirit Halloween. “Every child should be able to experience the joy of Halloween.”
The Cancer Center for Kids at NYU Winthrop Hospital offers a range of early detection, diagnostic, intervention and treatment services, both inpatient and outpatient, for children’s cancers and blood disorders. Dramatic improvements have been made in pediatric cancer patient survival, with nearly 80 percent of children cured of their malignancies. Conditions treated at the Center include leukemia and lymphomas; bone, soft tissue and brain tumors; hemophilia; sickle cell disease and more.
Spirit Halloween is the largest Halloween specialty retailer in the country with over 1,325 locations in strip centers and malls across North America. Celebrating 35 years of business, Spirit is the premier destination for all things Halloween, offering one-stop shopping for everything from costumes to décor and party goods to accessories.
In addition to being a fun and interactive event for shoppers, Spirit stores offer complete selections of costumes and accessories for infants/toddlers, children, ‘tweens, teens, and adults along with exclusive decor you won’t find anywhere else. For more information, please visit SpiritHalloween.com.
At the heart of Spirit Halloween is Spirit of Children, a program which focuses on making hospitals less scary for kids and their families. Since its inception in 2006, Spirit of Children has raised over $45 million for the Child Life department at hospitals across the country. Donations to Spirit of Children stay within local communities, with 100% of funds going toward a child’s life. For the 2018 Halloween season, Spirit of Children will be supporting 140 partner hospitals across the country, with a goal to raise $9 million.
Spirit encourages customers to help make a difference in a child’s life this Halloween season by donating at their local Spirit Halloween store or spreading awareness via Facebook and Instagram by using #SpiritofChildren and #MoreCowbell in their photos. For more information, please visit SpiritOfChildren.com.
NYU Winthrop is the Long Island affiliate of NYU Langone Health and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top-10 New York metro-area hospitals. The hospital was founded in 1896 by local physicians and concerned citizens and is now a 591-bed medical center and ACS Level 1 Trauma Center. The Hospital features more than 75 divisions of specialty care, offering comprehensive inpatient and outpatient programs and services to address every stage of life. NYU Winthrop also has a Research Institute that conducts robust research and studies that are helping to shape the future of medicine. The Hospital, with ties to New York University, blends the progressive philosophy and advances of a teaching and research institution with a personal approach to patient care that is the cornerstone of the organization.