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MJHS Star-Studded Event Raises Funds for Hospice Care

On May 12, the MJHS Foundation put together a star-studded program to garner donations for an innovative new endeavor in hospice care. The inaugural “Reaching for the Stars” event benefited the foundation’s Sixteen Lights campaign, which aims to build New York’s most innovative hospice residences. Close to 200 friends, supporters and MJHS employees attended the first of many planned events for the next five years to raise funds for a new inpatient hospice wing in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The Bronx site will be the first in New York City to treat children and adults.

Presentations by David Nussbaum, executive director of the MJHS Foundation; Barbara Hiney, RN, executive vice president of MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care; and Bernard Lee, MD, associate chief medical officer of MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care, provided an overview of the need for such residences complete with artist renderings of the projects. Speaking specifically to the planned Bronx residence that will treat pediatric patients, Hiney said, “Having no other choice but a sterile ICU is not OK.”

A sampling of the hundreds of celebrity photos that will adorn the hallways of the two hospice residences.

The Bronx residence, which will be on the grounds of Jewish Home Lifecare, will consist of 16 studio apartments to provide a home-like setting to critically ill adults and children. Each of the 16 suites in the Howard “Kvetch” Shapiro inpatient residence wing at MJHS’s Menorah site in Manhattan Beach will have oceanfront views.

Residency at both facilities includes 24/7 care by RNs who are board-certfied in hospice and palliative care and pain and symptom management, while at the same time giving families the option and opportunity to remain with their loved ones in a comfortable environment.

Along with support from celebrity co-chairs, Florence Henderson, Elliot Gould, Marvin Hamlisch, Neil Sedaka and Edward Albee, hundreds of celebrity photos were on display during the evening. The photos, which will adorn the walls of the new residences, were donated by Shapiro’s sister, Leslie Shapiro Greenberg, and brother-in-law Joel Greenberg.

Diana Gallo, RN, left, is joined by community marketing liaisons Sara Gazzini, of NewYork-Presbyterian-Cornell, and Nashtassia Alexis, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.

A humorist, columnist and HIV/AIDS activist Howard Shapiro, was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and died of the disease in 1996. During his battle with HIV, he corresponded with hundreds of celebrities, talk show hosts, athletes and statesmen, sending them copies of his columns that approached his HIV status with humor and poise and asking them for signed photographs.

The result was an enormous collection of 8-by-10 photos from the likes of Howard Stern, Ted Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, Nicholas Cage and Johnny Carson that includes notes of encouragement.

Staff members from sponsor Bestcare include, from left, Brian Schiel, vice president of field operations; Ilyne Rabinowitz, RN, director of clinical services; and Doti Morris-Williams, vice president of operations.

When the Greenbergs learned of MJHS’s endeavors, they offered the priceless collection to the foundation.

“There are probably about 500 or so in the collection,” David Greenberg said. “Each day he would call us and say, ‘Another five came today!’ ”

It was Shapiro’s hope that one day the collection would inspire others who are at their end of life. The photos will be displayed along the walls of the facilities with a plaque.

The foundation ended the evening by honoring Shapiro posthumously with the first Howard “Kvetch” Shapiro Humanitarian Award.

By | 2020-04-15T13:17:38-04:00 May 30th, 2011|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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