UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital will honor five children who have defied the odds and pay tribute to several supporters who have gone above and beyond at the annual Celebration of Miracles Luncheon at 11:30 a.m., Friday, May 18, at the Hyatt Regency. The event is presented by J.T. Mauro Co. Inc., and celebrates five “Miracle Makers,” community groups and supporters who have worked hand-in-hand with Golisano Children’s Hospital to provide the best possible care for this generation and the next. Five “Miracle Kids” will also be honored for overcoming especially serious or complex challenges, and are representatives for the thousands of children seen at the hospital each year.
The 2018 Miracle Maker Award recipients:
Outstanding Commitment by an Individual: Ann Costello
During her 20 years as the Director of the Golisano Foundation, Ann Costello has helped guide numerous projects that have changed the landscape of children’s health in Rochester, including the new Golisano Children’s Hospital, opened in 2015; the Golisano Autism Center Rochester, scheduled to open later this year; and the Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, which will provide outpatient mental health services to children when it opens in 2018. Ann has been a driving force behind the research, thought, and planning that occurs behind-the-scenes to make these initiatives a success.
Outstanding Commitment by a Community Group: Spirit of Halloween
Local Spirit Halloween stores have raised more than $272,000 for Golisano Children’s Hospital since 2006. The funds have been used to purchase iPads, game systems, toys, art supplies, and other items used by patients and their family members.
To cap off the fundraising campaign, Spirit Halloween throws a party at the hospital every year, providing costumes, arts and crafts, and Halloween fun to children who may miss out on trick-or-treating because of an illness or injury.
Outstanding Commitment by a Community Partner: Channel 13
The 13WHAM team has a long history of advocacy for the children’s hospital and is a vital partner in raising awareness of the hospital’s mission. Over the years, 13WHAM has supported many fundraising initiatives, including the creation of Grace’s Garden — created in memory of “Amazing Grace” Esposito, the daughter of news anchor and reporter Jennifer Johnson and her husband, Vinnie Esposito.
The team also acts as the TV hosts of the hospital’s annual Radiothon. This past year, the station featured the hospital’s five Miracle Kids as part of its coverage of the event and created a strong online presence on its web page — helping to boost the fundraising total by 35 percent over the previous year.
Outstanding Commitment by a Grateful Family: The Noyes Family
Jacob Noyes was born with Down syndrome and a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. He has been in and out of the hospital many times and has undergone dozens of surgeries and procedures. His mother, Kerri, has become a valued ambassador for the hospital throughout her son’s ongoing journey. She joined the Parent Advisory Council 14 years ago, and has shared her family’s story at many community events and fundraisers to help raise awareness and support.
Outstanding Commitment by a National Corporate Sponsor: Costco
Costco stores around the nation began hosting fundraisers during Children’s Miracle Network Month in 1983, with proceeds going to children’s hospitals in their region. Costco’s corporate headquarters also make a matching donation to amplify the impact of the project.
When the local Costco store opened in 2015, it joined in on the national effort in support of Golisano Children’s Hospital and has been building momentum each year since then. Every May, the store hosts a balloon fundraising campaign and decorates the store to raise awareness of what the hospital does for the community.
The 2018 Miracle Kids:
- Iris Helfner, 6, of Fairport, was born with a rare heart defect and needed open heart surgery last year. After the operation, Iris’s heart stopped beating, and doctors had to perform cardiac massage for 90 minutes until she was placed on life support. She has since made a complete recovery.
- Spencer Gernon, 12, of Rochester, is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. He has been through radiation and chemotherapy, and last summer, he experienced an event similar to a stroke that left him unable to talk or use the right side of his body. Since then, he has worked diligently to regain some of the skills he lost, and his tumor is now stable.
- Carter Branton, 2, of Stafford, Genesee County, was born with a rare defect called gastroschisis that caused his intestines to extend outside of his body through a hole next to his belly button. He needed emergency surgery the day he was born and spent 195 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. Now, he’s a happy and healthy toddler.
- Myles Davis, 7, of Gates, was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. He underwent chemotherapy and surgery, but this past year, a new tumor appeared, and he had to lose his leg. Myles has maintained a positive attitude despite his challenging journey, and today, scans show no signs of cancer in Myles’s body.
- Ariana Grosskopf, 4, of Albion, Orleans County, was in a serious car accident last summer. Doctors weren’t sure if she would survive, and Ariana underwent a six-hour surgery to repair her skull. Since then, she has fought to regain all the skills she lost as a result of the accident — from motor skills to basic communication.
Golisano Children’s Hospital employs more than 200 pediatric physicians and specialists and provides a spectrum of care that spans more than 40 specialty areas, serving more than 85,000 children and their families each year. It is the referral center for all seriously ill or injured children from the 17-county Finger Lakes region and beyond.