Angela’s House is celebrating the first Anniversary of their 3rd home. Angela’s III is located in Stony Brook, New York. The celebration will include a dedication and will be held on Saturday September 13 beginning at 1pm. https://www.longislandexchange.com/press-releases/angelas-house-celebrating-first-anniversary-of-3rd-home-with-special-dedication/
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Angela’s House is celebrating the first Anniversary of their 3rd home. Angela’s III is located in Stony Brook, New York. The celebration will include a dedication and will be held on Saturday September 13 beginning at 1pm. Angela’s III cares for 8 medically frail children in a comfortable home-like environment. Six of the children depend on a ventilator-for their breathing. The home provides 24 hour nursing care and includes sophisticated equipment and technology to care for these frail children. The three homes known as Angela’s Houses provide care for children who would otherwise be cared for in a hospital, nursing home or some other institutional setting – some as far away as New Jersey.
Bob and Angie Policastro became dedicated to improving the lives of medically frail children after their daughter experienced an accident at birth that left her very medically compromised requiring around the clock nursing care. “The situation was made worse because there was no help for her and there was no Long Island place to help care for her,” said Bob Policastro, who went to visit his daughter two hours away in Connecticut. The realization that there were no facilities and services on Long Island to help their daughter Angela and other medically frail children like her was the inspiration behind Angela’s Houses.
The challenges he faced with his daughter wasn’t Bob’s first encounter with the absence of resources for medically frail children. In 1974, Bob attended his first year at Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville. The football field at Holy Trinity was to be named after John Jay Kutner, commonly referred to as Jay who passed away on May 23, 1974 from complications of a football injury during the Fall of 1973 . “As a 14 year old we never talked about why the football field took on this name. We just learned about it in small talk, afraid and sad to what had happened,” said Bob.
Jay Kutner was injured on that same field one year prior and his accident left him paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator. The Kutner family was forced to have their son in an institution in New York City because Long Island had no place to continue Jay’s care. Holy Trinity decided to name the field John Kutner Memorial Field in his memory. “The field being named for Jay always had a strong spiritual presence on the school, staff and all the student body,” continued Bob. “All the outdoor activities had Jay looking over us.”
Jay’s brother Chris attended school together with Bob for the next four years. Going their separate ways after high school, the two friends were reunited at a high school reunion. “We talked a lot and I shared with Chris what happened to my daughter Angela,” said Bob. “I shared with him how there was no local place to help care for her.”
Bob began to share with Chris how he and his wife started Angela’s House. “Without hesitation, Chris offered to help by providing pro bono legal services for families with children in an Angela’s House who were denied services by their insurance companies. Chris also provided pro bono legal services for the organization,” said Bob.
The Policastros were due to open their second home in 2005 and they wanted it to be approved to care for child that were ventilator dependent like Jay. The Policastros were having trouble getting the approval to allow these children to live in the home. “It was at this point I spoke to Chris to strategize how we could make this happen,” said Bob. “It was a very sad situation where ventilator children were still forced to live far from home because Long Island did not have an alternative.”
After several years The Policastros were finally successful in getting the approval from the New York State Office of Persons with Development Disabilities to let ventilator dependent children live in the new home.
It has been 40 years since the passing of Jay Kutner, but his influence lives on and inspires Bob and the Angela’s Houses to bring medically frail children closer to home. Chris Kutner’s son Kyle did a piece of art work of Jay, which will be hung by the front door of Angela’s House III in Stony brook. The ceremony to honor Jay and his family will begin at 1pm on September 13th.
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