LIVINGSTON, NJ – The Livingston Sunrise Rotary Club hosted its 10th Annual Food Tasting to benefit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Barnabas Hospital.

This year the Rotary hosted 360 guests on Monday evening at the Westminster Hotel and partnered with more than 30 area restaurants, caterers and liquor distributors who also donated their time, hospitality and product to the cause.  Proceeds from the evening’s event will be tallied and added to the $141,000 the Sunrise Rotary has raised for the NICU to date.

Attendees included local politicians including Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, Livingston Mayor Rudy Fernandez and Congressman Al Anthony and Michael Silverman, along with St. Barnabas directors, doctors and staff, local business leaders and residences.

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“When you support the things in your own community you really are playing an important role in ensuring that the services are there for you, your family, and everyone else in your community,” said Hoda Blau, Executive Director of Barnabas Health Foundation.

While the efforts of the Livingston Sunrise Rotary Club will indeed benefit the local community, St. Barnabas NICU is notorious for its outstanding care and attracts patients from all over the state.  The 56-bed facility is known to use the latest treatments and provide the most advanced care for more than 1,200 premature and ill newborns each year.   They are also able to boast that babies born 17 weeks early have twice the survival rate of those born at other hospitals in the Vermont Oxford Network, which includes over 800 hospitals nationally and internationally. 

“There is no greater need than when you have a one pound baby fighting for its life,” said Dr. John Bonamo, President and CEO of Barnabas Health, “that is why we are happy to say that our NICU has one of the best survival rates in the country.”

Lou LaSalle, Director of External Affairs for St. Barnabas attributed the NICU’s success to the immediate attention the babies get right after birth by “an exceptional” team lead by Dr. Shyan Sun, Director at the NICU. “It’s because of their care that the children survive.”

Dr. Sun also spoke to guests and thanked the Rotary for their efforts.  He told the audience that he was excited to purchase a new piece of equipment with the proceeds this year. 

Sun explained that a one pound baby has only one ounce of blood and that drawing one cc of a premature baby’s blood is equivalent to drawing 150 cc from an adult person.  “It is important for them to keep their blood,” said Sun.  By purchasing a transcutaneous pco2 monitor, St. Barnabas NICU doctors are going to be able to run tests without extracting too much blood from the premature baby.  “So they lose less blood and they get better care,” explained Sun.

In addition to locals coming to support the St. Barnabas NICU they were also able to indulge in a night of catered food and drinks, door prizes and raffles.

“The food is excellent and the evening is very interesting in that it provides an opportunity to taste food from so many places,” said Dr. Foun-Chung Fan, Livingston Resident and Barnabas Anesthesiologist.  Fan attended the event for the first time this year with his wife Dr. Wen-Ling Fan. They both reported having a good evening trying all of the different food available.

For more information about St. Barnabas NICU call (973) 322-5300 or visit their website.  For more information on the Sunrise Rotary Club visit

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