Billie & George Ross Change Children’s Lives

CiC Foundation Executive Board member George Ross and his wife, Billie were featured in the Winter 2016-17 of Northwell Health’s GRATITUDE magazine. In addition to funding the Lion’s Den Room at Cohen Children’s Hospital, the couple have been instrumental in the development of other pediatric initiatives at the hospital.

Billie & George Ross

Most recently, the Ross’s fostered the development of the Billie and George Ross Center for Advanced Pediatric Orthopaedics and Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery. This is the only center in New York – and one of the few sites nationwide – to offer minimally invasive scoliosis surgery and house a dedicated team of scoliosis specialists. The center features MAGEC (Magnetic Expansion Control)and is led by two world-renowned experts in pediatric orthopaedic surgery.

Since 2007, The Ross’s have funded critical projects that transformed pediatric care at Cohen Children’s and made the hospital environment less scary for young patients. In addition to the Lion’s Den and the MAGEC initiatives, their investments helped develop the Neonatal Stabilization Unit and Radiology Comfort Care Room. They have also delivered interactive and educational systems to every patient’s bedside and provided two transport vans to assist patients and their caregivers reach the hospital for appointments.

The feature story is included on pages 14 and 15.

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NHL, Blues Partner on Winter Classic Project

Players, alums unveil renovated teen lounge at St. Louis Children’s Hospital

 NEW YORK – The National Hockey League (NHL) and St. Louis Blues unveiled a renovated teen lounge as part of the 2017 NHL® Winter Classic Legacy project. The renovated room was designed in partnership with Companions in Courage, a nonprofit charity that was founded by Hockey Hall of Famer and League executive Pat LaFontaine. All elements within the room have been donated to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, a leading pediatric facility that serves youth across the U.S. and around the world.  

“I was born in St. Louis and put on my first pair of skates in the suburb of Kirkwood. I always hoped that Companions in Courage could one day give back to the place where I was born,” said Pat LaFontaine, NHL Vice President of Hockey Development and Community Affairs. “I am thrilled that this year’s NHL Winter Classic Legacy project will introduce technology to the healing process for pediatric patients for years to come.”

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Heisman Winner Jackson Visits Lion’s Den

Jim Johnson, George Ross, Lamar Jackson, Pat LaFontaine and Diane Rode

The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson of the University of Lousiville took time from his busy first weekend in New York to visit patients at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai. The youngest Heisman winner in history “gowned up” and conducted some bedside visits, and then headed to the Lion’s Den Room for a Google Hangout with patients in other Lion’s Dens across North America. 

Jackson was an inspiration for many parents and their families. He had everyone laughing when the Florida native said he decided to go to the University of Louisville because he “wanted to see snow.” When another patient asked if Jackson would like to play for his hometown Denver Broncos, he added, “we have lots of snow here!”

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MI Teacher Runs NYC with Courage!

Steve Kowalski, an elementary school teacher from Trenton, MI thought long and hard about completing one of his “Bucket List” events – the New York City Marathon. He said, “I spoke with a few friends who are endurance athletes back in Michigan, and they advised that an event like this is made better when you do it for a purpose.” After doing some research, Steve decided to connect with the Companions in Courage Foundation and support their efforts with his run.

He said, “Although runners often run solo, we never run alone. We are all connected. Runners are connected by the paths we trod, by the air we breathe and through the sunshine, rain and snow on our faces. Running is bigger than all of life combined. One of the main reasons to run is not only for ourselves, but to run for others. We run for our spouses, for our children, and for many others.”

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It’s All About Giving Back

NEW YORK — Hockey Hall of Famers Pat LaFontaine and Luc Robitaille will represent the NHL as guests of Pope Francis during a three-day global conference focusing on faith and sport at the Vatican from Oct. 5-7.

The inaugural Sport at the Service of Humanity conference will bring together 150 athletes and executives in an attempt to promote positive values and inspire youth.

Brazilian soccer legend Pele, professional tennis player Roger Federer and retired NBA players Yao Ming and Dikembe Mutombo also will attend.

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2016 CiC Golf Classic: A Blessed Event

HUNTINGTON, NY, September 29, 2016  –  Pat LaFontaine hosted his annual CiC Foundation Golf Classic at Huntington Country Club on Long Island and helped raise money and awareness for the organization that now serves 50,000 patients per year in hospitals throughout North America.

The date of the event was bumped up one week to accommodate LaFontaine’s invite to participate in a conference on Sports, Faith and Humanity at the Vatican on October 5-7. To commemorate that extraordinary event, a 3’ x 2’ photo of Pope Francis was ubiquitous throughout the Golf Classic.

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LaFontaine Invited to Papal Conference

·         By John Vogl  – Buffalo News, Sept. 7, 2016

Pat LaFontaine, Pele, Roger Federer and Yao Ming are sports icons capable of headlining any event they attend. Yet when they come together next month for a historic global conference, the most well-known participant will be a man who’s never scored a goal, won a Grand Slam or appeared in the Olympics.

The event leader will be Pope Francis, who can transfix a packed stadium with a simple wave of his hand.

The pope, however, is aware athletes also have legions of followers, so he has invited a select few to the Vatican for the first global conference on faith and sport. The three-day event, titled “Sport at the Service of Humanity,” will bring together 150 athletes and executives from different religions and countries to discuss how faith and sport can work together to promote positive values, inspire youth and better serve humanity.

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2016 Main Street Mile: One for the Ages

One for the Ages: A Tribute to Bill Benson

When Bill Benson passed away on July 16th at the tender age of 97, the Runner’s Edge Main Street Mile race committee made the decision to honor him at the 12thannual event. Bill had been a long-time participant in the event and had a great fan in Pat LaFontaine.  

The hockey hall of Famer said, “Bill represented a spirit and enthusiasm that was contagious. He participated in almost 1,000 road races in his life and always made the people around him feel better.”

At this year’s finish on September 3rd in Farmingdale, the inaugural “Bill Benson Award” was presented to 89-year-old Bert Jablon as the oldest finisher of the race. We know that Bill Benson was smiling on us all.

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Lion’s Den #18 Opens in Hackensack


The room was getting increasingly crowded, but 12-year-old Ahtziri Garcia and her brother didn’t notice. They were busy playing with a new XBox console, laughing and competing against each other at Monday’s official opening of the Lion’s Den interactive playroom at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center.

The Lion’s Den rooms provide patients like Garcia with computers, televisions and Xbox consoles and allows the kids to not only play with others in the room, but connect and communicate with the outside world. The rooms are the work of Companions in Courage, the foundation of NHL Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine, who played for the Rangers, Islanders and Buffalo Sabres over his 15-year career.

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Scaling New Heights at MFCH

In 2014, 18-year-old Jackson Krase and his dad, Scott, led a team of 15 to the summit of Africa’s 19,000-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in a fundraising effort for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. In doing so, the group raised more than $55,000.  As per Jackson’s request, the monies were used to refurbish the original Lion’s Den, opened at the hospital in 2004.

On May 21st, Pat LaFontaine was joined by Brenda Fareri, Dr. Michael Gewitz, Physician-in-Chief at MFCH and Michael Israel of Westchester Medical Center. Here is how Fios-1 covered the story

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