Bear Donation Builds Smiles


Doing something special to brighten a child’s day is something that Mineola resident Marissa Cardinal knows first-hand can make a world of difference in the life of a pediatric patient.

Mineola resident Marissa Cardinal (right) with Nicole Cerullo, Winthrop Child Life Specialist Nicki Adams and Alexander McGuiness.

Thirteen years ago, Cardinal, now a pre-med student at Stony Brook University, was an orthopedic surgery patient on the pediatric floor at Winthrop-University Hospital. In anticipation of her hospital stay, her parents took her to make her first ever Build-a-Bear so that she would have a buddy to keep her company.

Years later, even though she was “aging out” of pediatrics, Cardinal received a stuffed animal from her nurse upon her admission for a procedure around the holidays. Though older than she had been during her previous stay, she was happy to receive that stuffed moose, which put a big smile on her face and helped to alleviate some of her fears.

These instances meant so much to Cardinal that recently, she, along with Syosset’s Nicole Cerullo and Centereach’s Alexander McGuiness of the National Residence Hall Honorary at Stony Brook—a leadership-based honorary comprised of exemplary residential students who value recognition and service—selflessly gave back to the Child Life Program at Winthrop, donating five Build-a-Bears to children on the floor.

“Knowing the impact that something as small as a new stuffed animal can have on a child’s hospital stay really makes doing something like this all the more special,” said Cardinal.

—Submitted by Winthrop-University Hospital

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