Representatives from the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Syracuse presented the Upstate Foundation with a check for $27,686 June 21 — funds raised through walkathons held to benefit the Golisano Center for Special Needs at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. (Sun photo | Katherine Long)

 

By Katherine Long | Editor

Small steps made a big impact June 21 as the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Syracuse presented the Upstate Foundation with a check for $27,686 — funds raised through walkathons held to benefit the Golisano Center for Special Needs at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“You guys rock,” said Hank Roane, PhD, offering his thanks to student participants during a ceremony held at the hospital. Roane is the director of the Golisano Center for Special Needs, which “will provide comprehensive, coordinated, and scientifically based medical and behavioral care for children and adolescents with many types of intellectual and developmental disabilities,” according to its website. 

Ten diocesan Catholic schools hosted individual walkathon events in May (see list below) as part of a system-wide effort spearheaded by the diocese’s Cabrini Team Health Program. The program was created “to help underserved students and families improve their social determinants of health,” said Joan Spector, director of Cabrini Team Health, during the ceremony. “What better way to accomplish that than a walkathon that benefits the community? We are so proud of the schools, their fitness, and all of the money raised. What a blessing.”

The schools’ donation will contribute toward a $6 million campaign for the center. 

“With your gift, you bring us that much closer to reaching that goal, so thank you so much,” said Julie Galler Simms of the Upstate Foundation. “You have raised so much and impacted this project so significantly and so meaningfully that we will be naming a room or a space in the Golisano Center for Special Needs for the Diocese of Syracuse Catholic Schools.”

Students, faculty, and parents from several of the participating schools were present at the ceremony, including Diala Karadsheh and her son, Jude Jbarah, a sixth-grader at St. Patrick’s School in Oneida. St. Patrick’s walkathon was held in memory of Karadsheh’s daughter, Jennah Jbarah, who fought rhabdomyosarcoma for nearly two years until her death in 2017. Jennah, 4, was a pre-K student at St. Patrick’s and received treatment at Golisano. Jude said it was special to be able to participate in the walkathon and that he was proud to have raised some $300.

Also proud was Superintendent of Catholic schools William Crist, who commended all the participants and thanked the hospital for the partnership opportunity. “This walkathon helped us to live our faith by helping those in need and providing service through action,” he said.

 

Participating schools
• St. Patrick’s, Oneida
• Rome Catholic, Rome
• Notre Dame Elementary, Utica
• St. Mary’s Academy, Baldwinsville
• Most Holy Rosary, Syracuse
• Blessed Sacrament, Syracuse
• Cathedral Academy at Pompei, Syracuse
• Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School, East Syracuse
• Holy Family, Syracuse
• St. John the Evangelist, Binghamton
Total raised: $27,686


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