This year marks Children’s Specialized Hospital’s 125th anniversary of helping children with special healthcare needs reach their fullest potential. To commemorate the anniversary, the hospital has themed the milestone “Hats Off.”
“Hats Off” is a unique way to show appreciation to early founders, supporters, physicians, and dedicated staff members who have helped Children’s Specialized Hospital grow to meet the demanding needs of children recovering from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, or to treat the thousands of children on the autism spectrum and those with complex medical needs.
The annual Walk n’ Roll will be the official kickoff to the 125th anniversary yearlong celebration, with the “Hats Off” theme. This popular community event attracts hundreds of families who have benefited from the programs at Children’s Specialized Hospital and enables them to give back to the organization that has partnered with them to help their child reach their fullest potential. To say “Hats Off,” over 2,000 kids, parents, community members, sponsors, and hospital staff will show their support for the programs and care provided by Children’s Specialized Hospital. Each year, Children’s Specialized Hospital treats nearly 29,000 patients from birth to age 21 with special healthcare needs at 13 locations across New Jersey.
Open to all members of the public, the 2016 Children’s Specialized Hospital Walk n’ Roll will take place Saturday, May 21, at Johnson Park in Piscataway, New Jersey. Check-in starts at 8:00 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony at 10:00 a.m., the start of Walk N’ Roll at 10:15 a.m., and a kids’ carnival that will last from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Teams are encouraged to wear hats of all kinds, to go along with the “Hats Off” 125th anniversary theme. For more information or to register, visit www.childrens-specialized.org/walknroll.
Walk n’ roll chairwoman Kim Hanemann, senior vice president – delivery projects and construction at PSE&G and Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation trustee, is instrumental in leading the event committee to yet another record-setting year.
“This marks the tenth anniversary of the Walk n’ Roll, and the walk will also serve as the kick off for Children’s Specialized Hospital’s 125th Anniversary celebration,” said Hanemann. “PSEG’s employees and vendors fundraise for Children’s Specialized throughout the year, and we all look forward to the Walk n’ Roll, too. It’s great to meet the patients and families that will benefit from our efforts, and we look forward to saying ‘Hats Off’ and breaking new fundraising records in 2016. ”
Corporate sponsors can make contributions, set up a booth at the carnival, or coordinate teams of their own employees to walk and show their corporate support. Presenting sponsor PSEG had a team of around 200 people in attendance in 2015. Last year, the Walk n’ Roll raised a record $270,000, which all went directly back into the inpatient and outpatient programs and services provided at Children’s Specialized Hospital.
“The Walk n’ Roll is an opportunity for our patients and families to come out and do something together, to show support to the hospital for the care they’re receiving,” said Toni Schweizer, special events director, Children’s Specialized Hospital. “Corporate sponsors love the event, too, because it’s a great way to interact with their communities.”
Walk n’ Rollers can follow either a one mile or five kilometer (3.2 miles) paved, flat path that accommodates nearly every level of mobility – from wheelchairs and strollers to participants walking on their own. The kids’ carnival is also popular.
“Carnival activities are geared to all levels of ability,” said Schweizer. “There will be tented games like bean bag toss, face painting, hot dog and refreshment stands, and more.” There is no cost to register for the event. Children’s Specialized Hospital will award T-shirts to individuals who raise $25 or more.
Children’s Specialized Hospital dates its beginnings to the late 1800s when a group of dedicated women in Westfield, New Jersey, saw a need to help malnourished and sickly children from nearby cities. Early doctors, nurses and volunteers rushed to treat hundreds of children afflicted by the polio epidemic.
For more information or to register, visit childrens-specialized.org/walknroll.