Chronically ill children enjoy Italian Festival

Jul 15, 2016

Chronically ill children treated at Women & Children's Hospital had the entire Italian Festival in Buffalo all to themselves Friday. WBFO's Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley reports it was time away from daily medical routines.

Chronically ill children treated at Women & Children's Hospital had the entire Italian Festival all to themselves Friday.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley


Chronically ill children treated at Women & Children's Hospital had the entire Italian Festival all to themselves.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

For a few hours in north Buffalo along Hertel Avenue Friday the children and families had a chance to experience what they called a 'normal' moment.

They were treated to free amusement rides like the carousel and Ferris wheel and played amusement park game and later a pizza lunch. 

"She's not in the hospital. She's not in the doctor's office and she's just being a kid. Words can't describe it," replied Bernadette Dale of Lancaster.

Tammy Olejniczak of Elma brought her 20-year-old daughter Jordan, who is celebrating her 14th year as a brain tumor survivor, but deals with daily health issues. They’re part of the Hospital's Stone's Buddies Program.  

Tammy Olejniczak of Elma brought her 20-year-old daughter Jordan.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“And the kids are just allowed to come and be kids, and sometimes that means we have parties at the hospital and sometimes that means we have parties outside of the hospital,” explained Olejniczak.

Children & families were treated to free amusement games & rides.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The families were able enjoy everything the Italian Festival offers without the large crowds, opening early to accommodate the children. 

Brandy Chapman of Buffalo was with her seven-year old daughter Ajianaye who was born with an undeveloped heart.                

7-year-old Ajianaye Chapman enjoys riding the carousel at the Festival.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“So when we get to come to things like this, it’s the absolutely best. You don’t have to think about your kid being sick or people staring, like when she had tubes or something hooked up and everybody is staring. Everybody here has been through similar things,” Chapman remarked.

Chapman's daughter has already had two heart surgeries and faces a third when she's a teenage.

Bernadette Dale's 13-year old daughter enjoyed the rides.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Bernadette Dale of Lancaster was with her 13-year old daughter who is developmentally delayed with multiply health issues.

Dale became emotional as she watched her daughter enjoy a festival ride.

“She’s not in the hospital. She’s not in the doctor’s office and she’s just being a kid," said Dale. 

WBFO News asked her how that makes her feel. “Words can’t describe it,” replied Dale.