Tom Coughlin, the head coach for the New York Giants, recently surprised children at the Valerie Fund Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's Hospital of New Jersey (CHoNJ) with a visit. He met with hospitalized pediatric patients, took pictures with them, and gave each child a bag containing a Giants football, coloring book, crayons, playing cards and other items to make their hospital stay more pleasant.
"For the next two days after Coach Coughlin's visit, all we saw were Giants hats running around the floor," laughs Anne Reilly, Director of Child Life for CHoNJ, located at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. "The children greatly enjoyed the visit and we are all thankful to Coach Coughlin."
Coach Coughlin is the founder of the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, named in memory of Jay McGillis, one of his former players at Boston College, who succumbed to leukemia in 1996. Coach Coughlin witnessed first hand the financial and emotional struggles the family suffered through and vowed to help people in the same situation if he ever had the opportunity. He created the Jay Fund to provide emotional and financial support to families of children with cancer. The Jay Fund has pledged $50,000 to assist children with leukemia and other cancers and their families at the Valerie Fund Children's Center.
Some children at the Valerie Fund visit brought in Giants' memorabilia from home, such as team pictures and a football, and Coach Coughlin signed them along with the baseball hats that were in the bags for the children.
Jillian Brown, Child Life Specialist for The Valerie Fund Children's Center, reports that on Friday, June 4, ten young oncology patients were able to tour the new Giant's stadium and also have an ice cream party.
The Valerie Fund Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorder at Children's Hospital of New Jersey uses a multidisciplinary approach to provide comprehensive care for children and young adults with cancer. The Center provides medical and psycho-social care at the time of diagnosis, during treatment and long-term care after the end of treatment. For more information about the Valerie Fund at CHoNJ, call (973) 926-7161.