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Northwell Health’s Annual Walk Raises Record $1.14M To Improve Health In Local Communities

More than 6,000 people came together across five Northwell Health Walk locations on May 19 to raise more than $1.14 million for local hospital programs and services, a second record-setting year for the annual event. Supporters including patients, families, community members and Northwell employees joined walks at Jones Beach and in Port Jefferson, Riverhead, Westchester and Staten Island to raise funds for initiatives such as women’s health, cancer care and pediatric mental health programs at Northwell hospitals in their respective communities. This year’s combined walks set a new high in both fundraising and attendance since the event began in 2010.

“The Northwell Health Walk is a testament to the unwavering support of thousands of people in our communities who believe in our commitment to advancing compassionate, quality health care,” said Brian T. Lally, senior vice president and chief development officer for Northwell Health. “They inspire us and elevate our ability to meet the physical and mental health needs of all New Yorkers.”

At Jones Beach, supporters enjoyed appearances by Mr. & Mrs. Met and the Islanders’ Sparky the Dragon before joining the Walk, which raised funds for women and children’s health at the Katz Institute for Women’s Health and Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

Northwell nurse Megan Rasiak, of Franklin Square, NY, joined the Jones Beach Walk in gratitude for the expert care she received while giving birth at Katz Women’s Hospital at North Shore University Hospital. In the final moments of labor, her baby’s heart rate dropped, leading to an unplanned C-section; happily, she delivered a healthy baby girl, Stella, in July 2022. Days later, she felt tired and anxious and returned to the hospital, where doctors discovered three clots in her lungs and readmitted her for a week. During her stay, Megan was awed by the compassion and attentiveness of the staff at Katz Women’s Hospital. Her obstetrician-gynecologist, Dana Almeida, DO, visited her in person almost every day to check on her.

After she returned home, she encountered a new challenge: feelings of postpartum anxiety and depression. She told her care team, and Dr. Almeida took immediate action to help her manage her symptoms with medication and connect her with a social worker who specializes in postpartum care. The social worker provided additional information about therapists and online groups that gave Megan the invaluable support she needed.

“I am so grateful for the amazing care I received. It would have been easy for doctors to dismiss me as an overtired mom, but they listened and took my concerns seriously,” said Rasiak, who has found solace in running and recently ran in the NYC United Airlines Half Marathon as part of Team Northwell. “New moms need support both physically and mentally, and I want my daughter to grow up knowing that taking care of her mental health is important.”

Across New York, funds raised at four other walks will support hospitals in their local communities. The Port Jefferson Walk supports the Fortunato Breast Cancer Center at Mather Hospital, and the East End/Riverhead Walk will help expand Peconic Bay Medical Center’s Center for Women and Infants, including plans for a new neonatal intensive care unit, postnatal unit and delivery unit. Funds raised for Northern Westchester Hospital and Phelps Hospital will support innovative adolescent behavioral health programs, a new health and wellness center for cancer patients and education initiatives for hospital team members. The Staten Island Walk supports the latest treatment options and clinical trials at the new Florina Cancer Center at Staten Island University Hospital.

The Walk began 14 years ago as the “Every Woman Matters Walk,” inspired by the vision of philanthropists Iris and Saul Katz, whose commitment to high-quality health care continues to be felt throughout Northwell. Since its inception, the Northwell Health Walk has raised more than $8 million and supports Northwell’s Outpacing the Impossible campaign, a comprehensive $1.4 billion fundraising effort that supports Northwell’s promise to the people it serves. The campaign’s objectives include improving hospitals and clinical programs, accelerating research and funding endowment.

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