The Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation recently held the re-opening of the Suites on Second Street at the Audrey Hepburn Children’s House for families of children undergoing treatment at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center. The length of stay is based on the child’s illness and treatment as well as suite availability.
“We have a phenomenal medical center and children’s hospital and our mission is to take care of people,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M. D., president of Hackensack University Medical Center. “How great it is to be able to provide a little bit of comfort to a family who has an ill child in the hospital. They are here 24 hours a day at times and they need a place to take a shower and to rest in order to be strong for their child. For those who made this project possible, thank you for your generous support.”
Formerly known as the Audrey Hepburn Children’s House Respite Apartments, the suites have been in use since January 2006. After a major remodeling and refurbishment project, which began in November of 2016, the suites are more beautiful, functional and comfortable and provide a quiet space where families can nap, shower or relax. There are now a total of six fully modernized suites, each with its own bathroom and kitchenette, including two Sabbath rooms, one for men and one for women, which are utilized by observant Jewish families of hospitalized patients.
Emma Ferrer, the granddaughter of Audrey Hepburn, for whom the children’s house is named, was on hand for the event and met with those who contributed to the project, including members of the Alfred N. Sanzari Family Foundation, without whom the project would not have been possible. Two of Alfred Sanzari’s granddaughters – Benita Raia and Dana Jareck – oversee the Foundation’s activities and were actively involved in every phase of the Suites on Second Street renovation project.
“We are grateful to everyone who has been involved in this project,” said Dana Jareck of the Alfred N. Sanzari Family Foundation. “The transformation of this space is amazing. This project was the perfect way to honor our grandparents and their legacy. To have a sick child would be the most heartbreaking thing in the world. To be able to provide families who are going through such an ordeal a place to relax and take a break from their stress is such a great thing. We are extremely honored to be a part of this project.”
“You put yourself in that situation with these parents who have to spend so much time watching their children go through what they’re going through,” said Benita Raia of the Alfred N. Sanzari Family Foundation. “It makes my heart happy knowing that we can help a family in need, even if it’s just giving them a warm room and a comfortable bed to sleep in at night. I am so excited about this project and what it will mean for the hospital and for the families who will utilize this space.”
The renovation also included upgrading the elevator to become Shabbat compliant (to continuously operate on its own) to better meet the needs of the Orthodox Jewish community. The Congregation Ahavath Torah of Englewood, and family and friends of Rabbi Chaim Poupko and his wife, Shoshana, raised more than $100,000 to help fund the elevator project and the Sabbath suites in memory of their daughter, Chana Poupko, who was treated at The Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center.
“We spent a lot of time in the nurturing and warm environment of the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital,” said Rabbi Chaim Poupko. “Since we are Sabbath observant orthodox Jews, we had to split up many of those Sabbaths. One of us would be in the hospital and one of us would be with our older girls. In honor of Chana’s memory, Shoshana and I wanted to provide Sabbath observant families going through such an ordeal with the opportunities to be able to spend that sacred and Sabbath time together.”
“Our family formed close bonds with the team at Hackensack University Medical Center during Chana’s 18 months of treatment and we wanted to maintain a connection to the medical center in a permanent way,” said Shoshana Poupko. “We spent many holidays and many weekends in the hospital to be with our daughter. As Orthodox Jews observing Shabbat and holidays, Chaim and I took turns walking two-and-a-half hours on those days from our home in Englewood to Hackensack. To honor the memory of our daughter, and to support other families under similar circumstances, we are proud to be a part of this important project.”
The majority of families who utilized the suites have children who are hospitalized in the Children’s Cancer Institute, neonatal intensive care unit and pediatric intensive care unit for a variety of illnesses. Most of the families live at least 50 miles from the hospital. Some live closer, but require the use of public transportation, which is very time consuming, costly and inconvenient. Families prefer to be close to the hospital, as their children are often critically ill and many times medically unstable. The suites allow families the possibility of getting some sleep in a quiet environment without the noises of the hospital.
“We are grateful to all of the vendors who gave of their time to make this project a success,” said Robert B. Budelman, III, executive director, Individual Giving, Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation. “One in particular is interior designer Jennifer McGee, who donated her time and expertise to make the new space bright, modern and livable for the families. The before and after photos truly tell the story of this project. Jennifer and her team really transformed the space and made it a warm and welcoming place.”
The following businesses donated their time or provided their services at a discount in support of the project:
Mustang Contracting Lorbin Painting ST Construction
Sherwin Williams K2 Millwork Kuiken Brothers
Lincoln Glass Amboy Flooring Associated Fire Protection
LVC Window Blinds Kunath Signs Yudin’s Appliance
Feigus Office Furniture FC Electric Van Natta Mechanical
Swift Electrical Supply DMR Architects USA Fire and Security
Union Building Service Tri-State Stone
The Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation recently celebrated the re-opening of the Suites on Second Street at the Audrey Hepburn Children’s House. The suites are utilized by families of children undergoing treatment at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center. From left to right: Robert B. Budelman, executive director, Individual Giving, Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation; Stephen Percy, M.D., interim chair, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital; Rabbi Chaim Poupko, Congregation Ahavath Torah of Englewood; Ayelat Poupko, Englewood; Ihor S. Sawczuk, M. D., president, Hackensack University Medical Center; Elana Poupko, Englewood; Shoshana Poupko, Englewood; Emma Ferrer, granddaughter of Audrey Hepburn; Benita Raia, Alfred N. Sanzari Family Foundation; Dana Jareck, Alfred N. Sanzari Family Foundation; Jennifer McGee, Jennifer McGee Design, Inc. Interiors; Rosemarie J. Sorce, first vice chair, Hackensack University Medical Center Board of Governors; and Heather Choi, Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation Board of Trustees.
About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, 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 now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 28,000 team members and more than 6,000 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-17 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. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2017. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 25 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. HackensackUniversity Medical Center 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. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit www.HackensackUMC.org.