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What is magic anyway?

Sometimes, a dire need is met with a great passion to help and—when the two collide—magic happens. That is exactly how the Presbyterian PACE Academy was created. Funded through the Kathie Winograd Educational Excellence Fund, this amazing program supports a full-time teacher at Presbyterian Hospital working predominantly with kids with cancer. The program, including the teacher and the classroom, is entirely donor-funded.

Since opening for service in July 2020, the PACE Academy has hosted 80 children, providing critical educational support to some of our most vulnerable patients during one of the most challenging times of their lives. Our Learning Specialist, Joan Kirby Hromas, is able to follow pediatric patients throughout their medical journeys from bedside instruction, through Survivorship Clinic, to maintenance. Joan is there every step of the way, easing each child’s path to learning and helping shoulder the burden for parents so that they can focus entirely on their child’s healing.

In 2021, the PACE Academy proudly “graduated” its first student, seven-year-old Raif Farris. Entering the hospital as a first-grader, Raif was successfully reintroduced into his second-grade class post treatment, where he is now thriving. Raif’s family was so grateful for the outstanding educational support they received that they held a book and toy drive with their school, which helped fill the bookshelves of the Kathie Winograd Mindworks Studio.

This year, Joan is looking to add to her student roster by extending support to general pediatric and pediatric intensive care patients who experience long-term hospital stays. This phenomenal program provides an invaluable service, and we couldn’t be more grateful for your help.

Here is an article highlighting this program that is truly making a difference. I hope you enjoy reading about the work that your generosity has made possible!


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