PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - Pace University will hold a dance marathon to raise money for Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla On Nov. 22. Here is one former Pace student’s very personal story of why she’s involved.
When she was a junior at Pace University, Caitlin Kirschbaum’s brother Christopher suffered a massive aneurism in the area next to his brain stem, the cerebellum. It was on a snowy day in January 2009, just a week into the spring semester. Christopher was transported from Greenwich Hospital to Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. The family was given no assurance that he would survive the 25-minute drive.
On arrival Christopher was rushed straight to the emergency room, where a team of 10 prepped him for surgery. The doctors in pediatric neurosurgery were able to stabilize him after an eight-hour operation, but said that he was not out of danger just yet. The family was told that the next 48 hours were critical and that his chances of survival would increase with each hour.
“While I waited, I contacted the director for Student Development and Campus Activities at Pace and told him that my brother was in lifesaving surgery and that I didn't know what to do about schoolwork and classes,” Kirschbaum recalls. “He said that he would contact the dean and my advisors on my behalf and not to worry. My professors were so incredibly understanding and sympathetic to the situation that to this day I continue to look at them as protectors.”
Christopher came out of a medically induced coma three days after surgery. “I had more support than I could have ever imagined from the Pace University community while my family battled through such uncertain times. Two surgeries and three years later my brother was back to normal again, and from that moment on I wanted to hold a fundraiser for an amazing hospital that is only three miles away from the Pleasantville campus,” Kirschbaum added.
Kirschbaum has since graduated and now works in Student Development and Campus Activities for Pace. “Over the years I have participated in fundraising opportunities for the hospital and last spring finally came across an opportunity that could potentially bring together two phenomenal institutions, Pace University and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital,” she says. With the assistance of colleagues and students, she helped plan the P4K Dance Marathon to be held on November 22-23 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Pace’s Pleasantville campus, 861 Bedford Rd., Willcox Gym, entrance 1. P4K stands for “Pace for Kids.”
“I have worked with an amazing group of dedicated students to bring this to fruition, and our hope is to raise $20,000 for the hospital during the 12-hour dance marathon,” she says.
Earlier this month Kirschbaum also participated in a radiothon on 100.7 WHUD to raise money for the hospital. The annual fundraiser features families and miracle patients who share their experiences. This year WHUD listeners donated $150,000 over two days.