Health and Wellness

$350,000 Gift Made to Support Pediatric Palliative Care at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital

Neptune, NJ – September 30, 2019 – The Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center Foundation is pleased to announce a gift of $350,000 from the Morris and Clara Weshnak Family Foundation, administered by Barry and Carol Anne Cawley Weshnak, in support of the Pediatric Palliative Care Program at Hackensack Meridian Health K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. The program helps children living with chronic illnesses and life-threatening medical conditions by working to improve the quality of life of these children and focusing on treatment of symptoms, pain and stress management, as well as offering comprehensive patient and family support.

“People often associate palliative care with end-of-life,” says Barry Weshnak. “But really, it’s about helping people who are impacted by a terrible illness or injury to live their lives to the fullest. My wife, Carol Anne, and I, along with our entire family, feel strongly that no child should suffer, and so if our gift can help to bring comfort to these children – and their families – then it’s worth its weight in gold. We are honored to be able to support such a beneficial program.”

The Pediatric Palliative Care Program at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital offers specialized medical care for children and families facing chronic illnesses and life-threatening conditions such as: cancer, chronic cardiac/lung disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, Chron’s disease, cystic fibrosis, traumatic brain injury, complications from premature birth, severe trauma and complex seizure disorders. Teams of doctors, nurses and other specialists offer added support to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family. The gift supports pediatric palliative care inside the hospital with plans to add home-based pediatric palliative care in the future.

“Palliative care is still one of the most misunderstood health care disciplines, but the real and tangible benefits to individuals living with chronic disease is immeasurable,” says Heather Grossman, M.D., director, Pediatric Advanced Care Team at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. “Donations to this particular field of medicine are appreciated more than the gift giver could ever know. We are incredibly grateful to the Weshnak family, and their foundation, for their unwavering generosity and their commitment to improving the quality of life of this special patient population.”

Not only will this gift from the Morris and Clara Weshnak Family Foundation help children and families impacted by illness, it also brings the Hackensack Meridian Health Meridian Health Foundation, to which the Jersey Shore University Medical Center Foundation belongs, one step closer to reaching its fundraising goal of $150 million as part of the organization’s Giving Heals campaign. The campaign supports four important initiatives: strengthening oncology services, improving clinical outcomes, enhancing the patient experience and broadening clinical research and academic programs. More than $95 million has been raised so far to benefit eight Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals, including Jersey Shore University Medical Center, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, Bayshore Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Riverview Medical Center and Southern Ocean Medical Center.

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“Having a sick child is beyond my comprehension of what pain, anxiety and fear truly look like,” says Joseph Stampe, president and chief development officer, Meridian Health Foundation. “The sad truth is, there are many families in our community who do know what it’s like. That’s why it’s so important to support programs like the Palliative Care Program at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, which benefit children and their entire families throughout illness and beyond. This gift by Weshnak family will bring healing to countless people and for that, we are grateful.”

To learn more about the Palliative Care Program at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, or the Giving Heals campaign, contact Ellen Hahn, development officer at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, at 732-751-5134, ellen.hahn@hackensackmeridian.org, or by visiting www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org/givingheals.

ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH JERSEY SHORE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
Located in Neptune, New Jersey, Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center is a not-for-profit teaching hospital and the only Level II Trauma and Level II Pediatric Trauma Center in Monmouth and Ocean counties. It is home to K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital – the first children’s hospital in Monmouth and Ocean counties. With more than 1,200 physicians and dental staff in 60 specialty areas, Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s team provides quality care in a patient-centered, environmentally-friendly setting.

The team’s commitment to excellence has earned Jersey Shore University Medical Center numerous accolades, including being named the #5 hospital in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report for 2018-2019. The medical center’s clinical research program and longstanding commitment to medical education is evident through an affiliation with Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University and a new affiliation with St. George’s University School of Medicine. Jersey Shore University Medical Center serves as an academic center dedicated to advancing medical knowledge, training future physicians and providing the community with access to promising medical breakthroughs.

Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s programs and services have received numerous national recognition, including designation as high-performing in cardiac, stroke, surgical and oncology services.

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Jersey Shore University Medical Center recently completed the HOPE Tower Project – a $265 million 10-story medical office building that provides a new healing outpatient experience. Guided by a patient-centered approach towards care, and informed by the latest medical breakthroughs, HOPE Tower includes advanced imaging services, a clinical academic center, innovative stimulation laboratory, state-of-the-art amphitheater, specialty physician offices, a nine-level parking garage, and a 58,000 square foot cancer facility. The new cancer facility features a range of comprehensive treatment options, including surgical specialties, medical oncology, and the most advanced radiation therapy and minimally invasive interventional therapies. Nurse navigators guide patients through every step and provide an extra layer of support and coordination.

ABOUT THE MERIDIAN HEALTH FOUNDATION GIVING HEALS CAMPAIGN
Giving Heals is a $150 million regional comprehensive campaign to raise funds for strengthening oncology services, improving clinical outcomes, enhancing the patient experience and broadening clinical research and academic programs. Publicly announced at the Meridian Health Foundation Gala on November 17, 2018, the campaign will run through 2020. Over $90 million dollars has been raised to date to support following Hackensack Meridian Health medical centers: Jersey Shore University Medical Center, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, Bayshore Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center and Southern Ocean Medical Center.

ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH
Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care.

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals – JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

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Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 34,100 team members, and 6,500 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network’s notable distinctions include having four hospitals among the top 10 in New Jersey by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Health care’s “150 Top Places to Work in Health care/2018” list.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

For additional information, please visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.

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