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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Kindergartner Overcomes Extreme Prematurity at Birth to Lead Thousands as Grand Marshal of Event Supporting Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital


Andy LaGuardia
(914) 493-6532

VALHALLA, NY, (March 31, 2016) – Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) and the children’s hospital for the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County, has named Eli Carson Whittaker of New City as the Grand Marshal of the 12th Annual Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day. The event, which includes a casual, one-mile walk and a host of family activities, is the biggest fundraiser for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, which cares for the region’s most seriously ill and injured children. This year’s Go the Distance Walk & Family Fun Day will occur Sunday, May 1.

The Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day draws former patients, their families, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital staff and supportive community members from around the region. As the event’s Grand Marshal, Eli Carson will lead thousands of participants around WMCHealth’s main campus in Valhalla during the event’s signature procession.

A Tiny Baby with a Big Heart

Eli Carson Whittaker was born at just 24 weeks gestation, weighed a mere 1 lb. 6 oz. and had list of life-threatening health issues longer than his tiny body. But with the help of the clinical staff in Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the odds of his survival turned in Eli Carson’s favor. Today, Eli Carson is 5 years-old, enjoying kindergarten and meeting many growth milestones. As Grand Marshal, Eli Carson will represent the more than 20,000 children cared for each year by the pediatric services offered at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

A Special Day for a Special Young Man

Eli Carson’s official, Grand Marshal appointment ceremony will occur Friday, April 1 at 9:30 a.m. at Summit Park Elementary School in New City. Then, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s Vice President of Patient Care Services, Linda Hurwitz, R.N., will present Eli Carson with a specially-tailored Grand Marshal sash. The ceremony will occur in front of school administrators, teachers, Eli Carson’s family and 100+ kindergarten and first-grade students.

To learn more about the Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day, including how participants can support advanced children’s healthcare in the region, interested parties are encouraged to visit http://events.westchestermedicalcenter.com/walk. Participants and others can stay up-to-date on event news and share their event-day experiences via social media by using the tag #GoTheDistance.

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 www.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 seven 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 www.WMCHealth, visit WMCHealth.org. ###