Meeting the needs of our community
Dr. Michael Weiner founded Hope & Heroes back in 1996, because he had a vision of what a top-flight research and treatment center could do for sick children across our region. He wanted Columbia to offer the best and most effective treatments for pediatric cancer and blood disorders and he wanted all patients—regardless of their insurance coverage or ability to pay—to have access to this care.
With funding from Hope & Heroes, the Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation has undertaken research and care initiatives that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, including:
- Pioneering efforts in complementary medicine, such as herbal and nutrition counseling, aromatherapy, acupuncture, acupressure, massage therapy, reflexology, Reiki, meditation, exercise, yoga, and movement therapy, all available at no cost to every patient
- Specialized programs providing the support that we know families need—like the The Valerie Fund Psycho-Social & Palliative Care Program, which helps families cope with all aspects of illness, including hospital visits and procedures, school re-entry, and the neuro-psychological effects of cancer treatment
- Clinical research initiatives that allow clinicians to bring novel treatments and discoveries from the lab directly to patients
Where does the name come from?
In 1996, one of our patients—Beth Maria—wrote to her childhood hero, baseball player Tino Martinez, then playing first base for the New York Yankees. They struck up a friendship, and Martinez made Beth a pledge: for every RBI he recorded, he would make a donation to help fight childhood cancer. A New York Daily News sportswriter covered the story the following year in an article titled “Hope & Heroes.” When Dr. Weiner heard this story, he knew right away he’d found a name for his newly-created charity. We’ve been known by this name ever since.