'It just gives everybody strength.' Respite room at Stony Brook Children's Hospital reopens for first time in 3 years

The Ronald McDonald House family room gives families an opportunity to stay close to their sick or injured children while they're undergoing treatment at the hospital.

Mar 16, 2023, 4:33 PM

Updated 397 days ago

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A respite room for sick kids and their families at Stony Brook Children's Hospital reopened Thursday after being closed for three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ronald McDonald House family room gives families an opportunity to stay close to their sick or injured children while they're undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Avery Joy Berner is being treated for leukemia. The 5-year-old cut the ribbon at the reopening. Berner's parents say the room is a place where they can rest while their child is hospitalized.
"It's a nice place to come by, sit, change of scenery from our room that we're in for a month at a time," says Marlena Berner, of Shoreham. 'They have snacks and fresh coffee. That helps for long nights here, so it's really amazing to have it reopen."
The 900-square-foot room is equipped with a kitchen area, a laundry facility and a shower. There is also a place for families to access computers.
Ronald McDonald House Charities NY Metro CEO Matthew Camp says the family rooms are a "really special place because it gives families the opportunity to step out of the clinical environment and into a space that's really more homelike."
Volunteers were also on hand to serve beverages and snacks to families to give them a little lift after a long day.
It is also serves as a place for peace and comfort for the families that are going through so much.
"Just emotional support, I mean, when you see somebody else going through a battle," says Jack Berner. "It just gives everybody strength."
The respite room serves an estimated 3,000 families a year.


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