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Lemonade Stand Helps Child Life Program

Lemonade Stand Helps Child Life Program
Local kids help patients at Stony Brook Children’s

Summer days are fun days for kids – unless they’re in the hospital. The Three Village Kids Lemonade Stand on Aug. 8 raised funds for the Child Life program at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. The sixth annual event was a joyous carnival for the local community and a way to send love and support to young people being treated at Stony Brook Children’s.

Stony Brook’s Child Life program helps hospitalized children feel comfortable and engaged, providing fun distractions for kids from infancy through teen years, and keeping them connected to family and friends.

The fundraiser started out as a modest lemonade stand in front of the home of siblings Maddie and Joseph Mastriano. Each year it grew and now is held at Robert C. Murphy Junior High School. The school’s courtyard is transformed each year into a combination basketball court-miniature golf course-dance floor.

Some kids hula-hooped past signs that read, “Thank you for helping us turn lemons into lemonade!” Scout troops staffed tables selling raffled goods and services donated by local businesses. Brave souls took the “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Challenge”: for a dollar (all proceeds going to Stony Brook Children’s), they bit into a lemon and posted the challenge to social media to increase awareness of pediatric patients and their needs.

The Lemonade Stand has raised more than $36,000 for Stony Brook Children’s since it started in 2012. The goal for 2018 is to raise an additional $30,000.

Margaret McGovern, MD, PhD, Physician-in-Chief at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, said the hospital’s Child Life program will put the Lemonade Stand funds to good use.

“Our Child Life program is focused on normalizing the hospital experience for kids,” she said. “We’re making the hospital environment as close as possible to home for them. That’s really what makes a children’s hospital unique. Children have needs that adults don’t have.” 

Stony Brook Children’s “does not receive a lot of state funding,” Dr. McGovern said. “We always rely on philanthropy to develop our programs.”

Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon, himself a two-time cancer survivor, presented Maddie and Joseph Mastriano with a proclamation thanking them for their work on behalf of Stony Brook Children’s.

“Today is all about the kids, and helping to make the community a better place,” he said. 

Maddie Mastriano, age 18, will start at Loyola University this fall as a freshman. Her brother Joseph, age 14, will be a 10th grader at Ward Melville High School. Maddie said they want to help Stony Brook Children’s patients because “we have the summer of vacation but they have the same four walls of their hospital room. We know it’s rough. So this is our way of helping to provide fun things to distract them.”

“My husband Joe and I certainly are proud, watching the two of them pull the community together,” said Laura Mastriano, their mother. “Stony Brook Children’s is near and dear to them, because it’s right in our backyard.”

To view photos from this event, visit our Facebook album.