The Second Annual Dance for our Children Benefit Supports Creative Arts Programs for Pediatric Patients at HackensackUMC

December 18, 2015 10:33 AM
This year,Dance for our Children raised $5,000 to support the creative arts programs at the Joseph M. Sanzari Hospital at HackensackUMC.

What began as a wish fulfilled for one child has evolved into a benefit for the wider pediatric patient community at HackensackUMC. Dance for our Children supports the Creative Arts Therapy programs at HackensackUMC.  The performances started with one patient’s desire to see a Broadway show.

“A patient of ours longed to see Wicked on Broadway,” explains Ellen Goldring, section chief of the Child Life Department at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HackensackUMC. “Her health declined rapidly and it wasn’t possible for her to attend the show on Broadway, so we brought a mini show to her.”

Some of the stars of Wicked performed excerpts of the show in Julianna’s hospital room. That initial performance inspired the Dance for Our Children benefit shows that have followed.

Christopher King, one of those Wicked performers, is the son of Nancy King, artistic director and founder of the King Centre for the Performing Arts in Wanaque, Mahwah, and Butler, NJ. King produces Dance for our Children, which features local performers and Broadway stars. Performers have also included Richard Blake, who currently stars on Broadway as Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys.

“My wife teaches at the King Centre,” says Blake, who was invited to join the Dance for our Children lineup. Blake had a personal motivation. “My son, Greyson, was born at HackensackUMC and spent two weeks in the NICU. The staff was amazing - and I would do anything for the hospital.”

Dance for our Children will move this spring from its space at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, where the show ran the first two years, to Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ, for the third annual performance. This year,Dance for our Children raised $5,000 to support the creative arts programs at the Joseph M. Sanzari Hospital at HackensackUMC.

“Through the art of creating the patient can develop coping skills and have opportunities to explore emotions,” says Goldring. “The arts offer a way to communicate feelings that may be too overwhelming to put into words.”

And sometimes, she says, this simply allows patients to be children and have fun.


This year,Dance for our Children raised $5,000 to support the creative arts programs at the Joseph M. Sanzari Hospital at HackensackUMC.


About Hackensack University Medical Center

HackensackUMC, a 775- bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is the flagship hospital of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state comprised of 1,717 beds, more than 10,000 team members and 3,300 credentialed physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Hospital rankings - maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. HackensackUMC is the only hospital in New Jersey, New York and New England to be named one of Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ nine consecutive years, and receive the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 13 years in a row. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 24 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more, visit:     




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