Thousands Support the Walk for St. Mary’s Kids and Family Fun Day

June 10th Event to Raise $200,000 for St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children

Bayside, NY – They came by bus, by train, and by the car load. They came to walk. They came for the children. On June 10, 2007, droves of families, friends, and supporters descended on Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the fourth annual Walk for St. Mary’s Kids and Family Fun Day at the Playground for All Children. The event attracted approximately 2,000 participants who did their part to raise funds and awareness for children with special needs and support the programs and services at St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children. With donations still pouring in, the event is expected to raise $200,000.

Some walked in honor of a remarkable child, like gunshot survivor John Henry Romano who came to St. Mary’s partially paralyzed, and after just 5 months of intensive rehabilitation, was able to walk again and return home to his family. Ten-year-old John Henry became known as St. Mary’s “Miracle Child” for his quick rehabilitation and was named Grand Marshall of the Walk in recognition of his courage and commitment to getting better. For John Henry’s family, the Walk was a day of celebration.

Others walked in memory of a loved one. For the Portnoy family of Great Neck, the Walk brought together over 350 friends, family members, and the Great Neck community to celebrate the memory of nine-year-old Zachary, a remarkable St. Mary’s child who passed away in February 2007. “Zachy” came to St. Mary’s at age four after brain surgery to remove a tumor and two subsequent strokes left him in a coma. St. Mary’s offered hope when no one else could and focused on improving the quality of his life. With his loving family by his side, Zachy did the unimaginable – he woke up, relearned how to walk and talk, and returned home. For the next four and a half years, Zachy continued to amaze his family each and every day. Surrounded by a sea of family and friends at the Walk in dolphin tee shirts (Zachy’s favorite animal), the Portnoys keep his memory alive and well while helping the children of St. Mary’s.

John Henry and Zachy are two of the many reasons why we walk for St. Mary’s kids each year.

The June 10th event was kicked off with a performance by the IMPACT Theatre Group, a talented troupe of young performers. The emcee for the day was Lynda Baquero, Anchor/Reporter, NBC4. Guests of honor at the 2007 Walk were State Senator Frank Padavan; John Choe, Chief of Staff for Councilman John Liu; Estelle Cooper, Assistant Commissioner, Queens Parks, Administrator of Flushing Meadows Corona Park; and Kathleen Hathaway, Executive Director of SCS Astoria Energy Foundation.

The Walk was followed by a Family Fun Day at the Park’s Playground for All Children. Activities included arts and crafts, face-painting, inflatable batting and pitching, a visit from Mr. Met, a jump-roping exhibition, and hands-on activities by the Queens Zoo, the New York Hall of Science, and more.

St. Mary’s would like to thank all of the participants and sponsors, as well as Flushing Meadows Corona Park, for making the 2007 event a tremendous success. This year’s presenting sponsor was SCS Astoria Energy Foundation. Sponsors included Commerce Bank, Aon Risk Services, Cord Meyer Development, FedEx Kinkos, Frank Crystal & Company, Glacéau, TimesLedger Newspapers, Twin Park Fitness, and US Foodservice.