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Date Updated: Monday, March 12, 2018

After Overcoming Serious Illnesses and Injuries, Nine Children’s Hospital Champion Ambassadors Gathered for Special Reunion

March 5th Event at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital Kicked Off #ChildrensHospitalsWeek; Brothers Appointed as 2018 Ambassadors

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VALHALLA, N.Y. (March 5, 2018) – To shine a light on the importance of children’s hospitals and donations to provide children with the best care, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, is participating in the second annual #ChildrensHospitalsWeek from March 5-11. Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is one of 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) across North America participating in the week-long initiative to raise funds and awareness for local children’s hospitals.

In honor of #ChildrensHospitalsWeek, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital hosted a Champions Reunion on March 5th, bringing together nine pediatric patients who were chosen by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to act as ambassadors, representing the state of New York and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital following their care. Patient families, medical staff, hospital administration and community partners gathered to celebrate their perseverance, health and happiness.

Selected as this year’s Champions, representing Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, are Eli and Shane Williams, of Woodbourne, NY. Eli, 6, and Shane, 13, were treated for third-degree burns, fractures, and other serious injuries following an off-road vehicle accident in 2016. They were formally appointed as the 2018 Champions at Monday’s reunion in recognition of their bravery. Previous Champions who attended and received proclamations from Westchester County Executive George Latimer, as well as Certificates of Merit from Westchester County Legislator Margaret Cunzio, are:

  • Ryan Reyes, 18, Brooklyn, NY – Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Survivor, 2015 Champion
  • Sophia Mercado, 15, Walden, NY – Arteriovenous Malformation and Epilepsy Survivor, 2014 Champion
  • Tyler Mejorado, 18, Fishkill, NY – Cirrhosis of the Liver Survivor and Liver Transplant Recipient, 2012 Champion
  • Frankie Flora, 13, Poughkeepsie, NY – Dog Attack Survivor, 2010 Champion
  • Jason and Johnson Varghese, 24, Bronx, NY – Wilson’s Disease Survivors and Liver Transplant Recipient, 2006 Champion
  • Samantha White, 22, Monroe, NY – Congenital Heart Defect Survivor, 2005 Champion

“The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champions program has allowed our hospital to honor the courage of our pediatric patients in the face of significant medical challenges, and to highlight the skilled and personalized care our expert physicians and nurses have given to these children and their families throughout the years,” said Michael H. Gewitz, MD, William Russell McCurdy Physician-in-Chief and Chief, Pediatric Cardiology, at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. “We are proud to share our Champions’ success stories during #ChildrensHospitalsWeek and be a part of their continued health.”

The #ChildrensHospitalsWeek social media campaign provides an opportunity for the community to sport a bandage and write the name of a child who has benefitted from our Children’s Hospital. To participate, the community is encouraged to take a photo and share it with the hashtags, #ChildrensHospitalsWeek and #MFCH. Members of the community are also encouraged to donate.

To learn more about our Champions, check our Facebook page throughout the week as we share their stories. To donate online, click here and be sure to select Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital as your local Children's Miracle Network Hospital.

About Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is the children’s hospital for New York’s Hudson Valley region and Fairfield County, Connecticut. Located in Valhalla, NY, this 136-bed advanced pediatrics facility cares for the region’s most seriously ill and injured children including those in need of cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, hematology and oncology treatments, organ transplants and other specialty pediatric services. Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is also home to the area’s only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Level I pediatric trauma and burn care programs and its Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. For more information on Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, interested parties can visit or follow the hospital at and

About Westchester Medical Center Health Network
The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. From Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State, today WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit