Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Henry's Gifts: Fairview-University pediatric patients inspired to 'live well and laugh hard'
Contact: Ryan Davenport, Fairview Health Services Media Relations, 612-672-4164

MINNEAPOLIS (Dec. 30, 2004) – In his short life, Henry Goldberg loved to laugh. Even a courageous battle with Fanconi Anemia, a deadly genetic disease, didn’t take away his mischievous grin or his sense of humor. Henry underwent a bone marrow transplant at Fairview-University Children’s Hospital in July, 2000. Although he ultimately died from his disease two years later, his family has a message for patients facing devastating illnesses: Live well and laugh hard.

Henry’s parents, Laurie Strongin and Allen Goldberg of Washington, D.C, were so inspired by their son’s strength of spirit that they created the Hope for Henry Foundation. The foundation will provide up to 200 Fairview-University pediatric bone marrow transplant patients or oncology/hematology patients with a gift of electronic entertainment. Patients age 2 to 18 can choose a digital camera, a portable DVD player, a Gameboy or a personal CD player.

“Henry embraced each opportunity for living completely and reminded the rest of us to do so,” said Laurie Strongin. “To honor Henry’s legacy and share his magic making, we started the Hope for Henry Foundation to help other kids with life-threatening illnesses to live well and laugh hard during their struggles.”

“The gifts from the Hope for Henry Foundation will make a big difference in the lives of children cared for in our hospital,” said Stacy Stickney-Ferguson, LICSW, a social worker with Fairview-University’s Blood and Marrow Transplant program. “These gifts will provide an emotional lift to our patients, many of whom have been in the hospital for months.” Since the program’s inception, University of Minnesota physicians have performed more than 3,700 blood and marrow transplants, making it one of the largest and most accomplished BMT programs in the world.

Henry Goldberg was a patient at Fairview-University Children’s Hospital for parts of two years, beginning in 1999. The foundation is also providing gifts to pediatric patients at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., where Henry was also cared for prior to transplant. Patients who receive chemotherapy or bone marrow transplants often must remain in protective isolation for many weeks or months.

“Henry would have wanted to hand these gifts out himself,” said John Wagner, M.D., Henry’s primary physician and a University of Minnesota specialist in pediatric bone marrow transplantation. “While we as doctors and nurses are so focused on providing the best medical care available, gifts like these really boost the spirits of these kids, making a real difference in their lives.”
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