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After Successful Neurosurgery, Local Third-Grader to Lead Thousands as Go the Distance Grand Marshal


Andrew LaGuardia; (914) 493-6532; laguardiaa@wcmc.com
David Billig; (914) 493-8028; billigd@wcmc.com


  • Jaime Ferretti, 8, of Mahopac, NY, has been named Grand Marshal of the 2013 Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day fundraising event for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. Jaimie had a lifesaving pediatric neurosurgical procedure at the hospital January 2012.
  • Jaime’s official Grand Marshal appointment will occur during a special ceremony Wednesday, March 13, at 1p.m. in front of teachers, administrators and more than 100 fellow third-grade students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Yorktown Heights, NY.  The hospital and school share a special history.
  • The annual Go the Distance event includes a casual one-mile walk and a host of family activities.  Thousands participate in Go the Distance each year. This year’s event is Sunday, April 21.

Valhalla, New York, March 7, 2013 – Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, the children’s hospital for the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County, has named Jaimie Ferretti, 8, of Mahopac, New York, as the 2013 Grand Marshal of the Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day. Go the Distance, which includes a casual, one-mile walk and a host of family activities, is the biggest fundraising event for the hospital, which cares for the region’s most seriously ill and injured children. The 9th Annual Go the Distance Walk & Family Fun Day will occur Sunday, April 21.

Go the Distance draws former patients, their families, hospital staff and supportive community members from around the region. As the event’s Grand Marshal, Jaimie will lead thousands of participants around the Westchester Medical Center campus during the event’s procession. To learn more about Go the Distance, including how participants can support advanced children’s healthcare in the region, interested parties are encouraged to visit www.westchestermedicalcenter.com/walk.

Jaimie’s Lifesaving Surgery

Jaimie’s Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital story began just a few days after the 2012 New Year’s Day holiday when she was rushed to the hospital for emergency neurosurgery in order to remove a malignant tumor that was causing her brain to swell to life-threatening levels. The delicate, complex procedure performed by the hospital’s pediatric neurosurgical team to abate the swelling and remove the tumor took more than 14 hours complete, but it was a rousing success. In fact, the surgeons removed the tumor so completely that neither radiation nor chemotherapy treatments were necessary. 

Jaimie was home from the hospital within a short period and today, just a little more than a year after her surgery, Jaimie is a happy and healthy third-grade student. As Go the Distance Grand Marshal, Jaimie will represent the thousands of local children cared for by the hospital each year for acute illness and injury.

School and Hospital Share a Special History

Jaimie’s official appointment ceremony will occur Wednesday, March 13 at 1 p.m. at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Yorktown Heights, New York. Then, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s Physician-in-Chief, Michael Gewitz, M.D., and Michael Tobias, M.D., the hospital’s Co-Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery, will present Jaimie with a specially-tailored Grand Marshal sash.  The ceremony will occur in front of school administrators, Jaimie’s teachers and more than 100 of her fellow third-grade students.

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center and the Lakeland School District’s Benjamin Franklin Elementary School share a special history.   Prior to the hospital’s opening, the school held a “Reach for the Stars
Read-a-Thon” fundraiser over the course of the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 school years that raised $100,000 for the hospital and its children’s programs. A plaque commemorating this remarkable achievement adorns a wall in the hospital’s Family Resource Center.

What’s more, a floor-to-ceiling tile mosaic created by Benjamin Franklin Elementary School students with the inscription “You Can Make a Difference” is located outside of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s pediatric emergency room.  A sister mural created by school students greets visitors in Benjamin Franklin Elementary School’s main lobby.

About Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center is the children’s hospital for New York’s Hudson Valley region and Fairfield County, Connecticut. As home to the region’s only pediatric intensive care unit, pediatric transplant program, burn center and cardiac catheterization program, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital cares for the area’s most seriously ill and injured kids.

A regional and national leader in children’s healthcare, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center was designed from the point of view of patients and families as well as doctors and nurses.  In addition the hospital operates under the family-centered care philosophy, which encourages moms, dads, brothers and sisters to be involved in the care process.  These factors result in a special healing environment that puts children and their parents at ease so the whole family feels better.


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