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Date Published: Monday, September 20, 2021
Date Updated: Friday, June 30, 2023

After Undergoing Stem Cell Transplant to Combat Sickle Cell Disease Girl, 7, Named Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital Ambassador

Arlette Porpiglia (L) and Nicole Lucas, RN of Maria Fareri Children's Hospital present Camryn Kellam with a sash proclaiming her as a hospital ambassador for the Go the Distance Virtual Walk

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VALHALLA, N.Y. (September 20, 2021) -- Seven year-old Camryn Kellam was cheered by her family and her care team from Maria Fareri Children's Hospital during a recent ceremony in which she was presented with an official sash designating her as a hospital ambassador for the Go the Distance Virtual Walk.

Camryn was born with Sickle Cell Disease and underwent a successful stem cell transplant at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in March 2020. Camryn's oldest sister, Skylar, 21, was her life-changing donor.  The transplant was successful and now Camryn remains free of the significant symptoms and complications associated with the disease.

Neurosurgical care at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital also is on the horizon for Camryn as physicians also diagnosed Camryn with Moyamoya Disease, a rare and progressive condition of tortuous (twisted) blood vessels at the base of Camryn's brain. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Moyamoya Disease can lead to aneurysms, strokes and other serious neurological complications.

Despite these challenges, Camryn is doing well and her spirits are high, which is why Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), chose Camryn to represent the thousands of acutely ill and injured children cared for by Maria Fareri Children's Hospital each year.

Go the Distance is an annual walk and family day fundraiser for Maria Fareri Children's Hospital. This is the 17th edition of the event that for the safety of participants will be conducted virtually. Families and organizations eager to participate are encouraged to walk a one-mile course of their choosing between now and November 7.

Those who wish to create a team and support the advanced care mission of Maria Fareri Children's Hospital should call 914.493.2575 or visit Give.WMCHealth.org/GTD21 for team-building and fundraising instructions.

Maria Fareri Children's Hospital is a Leading Research Center

Camryn's stem cell transplant was conducted as part of a Sickle Cell Disease research trial led by Mitchell Cairo, MD, Maria Fareri Children's Hospital's Chief of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation. Study results reported in a peer-reviewed journal showed 100% subject survival and the elimination of symptoms and complications associated with Sickle Cell Disease.  That research trial is one of several studies on Sickle Cell Disease, pediatric blood disorders and cancers for which Maria Fareri Children's Hospital serves as the lead research site.

The Childhood and Adolescent Cancer and Blood Diseases Center at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, is an internationally-recognized, multidisciplinary diagnostic treatment and research center that extends comprehensive care while leading breakthrough research in cancer and blood diseases. Referring physicians or families seeking a consultation with one of the center's cancer or blood disorder specialists should call 914.614.4270.


About Maria Fareri Children's Hospital
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 WestchesterMedicalCenter.org/MFCH or follow the hospital at Facebook.com/MFCHatWMC and Twitter.com/MFCHatWMC.


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 WMCHealth.org.