St. Mary’s celebrates 150 years of service 1

Justin O’Connor of Rep. Tom Suozzi’s office, left, Assemblymember Ed Braunstein, St. Mary’s President and CEO Ed Simpser and state Sen. John Liu were joined by St. Mary’s staff and patients to celebrate the hospital’s 150th year of operation.

St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, the 124-bed Bayside facility serving youngsters with medically complex conditions, commemorated it’s 150th anniversary Sept. 23.

“We’re proud to carry the same commitment to loving, personalized care that our founders had when they established a free hospital for children in 1870,” St. Mary’s President and CEO Dr. Edwin Simpser said in a statement. “We look forward to celebrating another 150 years of caring for New York’s children through innovative approaches to treatment that allow our children to thrive.”

Simpser and his staff were joined by their patients to celebrate the century and a half landmark, and were bestowed a proclamation by area elected officials for their ongoing commitment.

“In this most difficult year, we take a moment to celebrate a huge milestone in the storied and inspirational history of St. Mary’s,” said state Sen. John Liu (D-Bayside), who presented the proclamation along with Assemblymember Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Justin O’Connor of Rep. Tom Suozzi’s office (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens). “For 150 years this hospital has provided care and compassion in the most difficult cases involving serious injury and disability of children. St. Mary’s has also helped enlighten society about the continuing potential of the patients it has cared for.”

The hospital, founded in 1870 by the Sisters of the Community of St. Mary, was the first New York medical facility dedicated solely to the care of critically ill children. It was originally located in Manhattan and supplied with only 15 beds, but was moved to the nine-acre Bayside campus in 1951, where it has operated a 124-bed inpatient program since. In 1983, the hospital added a family-centered home care program to accommodate patients with the highest levels of medical complexity.

To honor the milestone, St. Mary’s hosted the #smk30daychallenge, or a month-long fundraiser. Throughout the month of September, the hospital encouraged participants to form teams and engage in different virtually conducted physical activities each week, including paint night and trivia night.

The month concluded with a virtual walk on Sept. 27 in which participants were encouraged to share videos and photographs of themselves and their team on social media along with the fundraiser’s hashtag.

“We really wanted to stay in touch with the community since all of our in person events have been postponed due to the pandemic and thought this was a great way to interact with them,” a spokesperson said.

St. Mary’s raised close to $10,000, falling short of its $15,000 goal. All proceeds will be put toward supporting vital programs and services to service its patients.