On Thursday April 27th, 10 year old Olivia Berk, accompanied by her parents, brother Sam and her Aunt Lon, arrived at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla. Their car was filled to the top with 10 gallons of ice cream and enough sundae toppings to cover twice as much.
Earlier this year, Olivia, a fourth grader at Roaring Brook School, had started brainstorming 10th birthday celebration ideas. Guided by her heart, her mom, Dana Berk, explained that Olivia felt it was important to share her birthday celebration with the kids at Maria Fareri. Over the last year and a half, Olivia has spent a lot of time there as her cousin Charlie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. (ALL). “Thankfully, he is on the path to recovery but the experience has left a lasting impression, especially for Olivia,” said Dana.
Olivia and her family and friends created an Ice Cream Social for the children and staff who are currently at the hospital. Olivia’s friends’ parents appreciated the opportunity to contribute to a group gift, some even giving double the “normal” amount in order support the hospital staff and patients.
The two-hour Ice Cream Social was remarkable as the patients and dedicated staff were able to make the Ice Cream Sundae of their choice. It was certainly the highlight of everyone’s day, said Dana. One young girl being pushed in a wheelchair said to Olivia, “Thank you.” Olivia replied, “You don’t have to thank me, you just have to smile.”