Patients, staff at children's hospital celebrate end of school

Patients at Blythedale Children's Hospital celebrated the end of the school year with its first Aloha Summer Dance at which 40 patients were given the royal Hawaiian treatment along with many staff members. 

"Today we had makeup artists and hair stylists from the community come in to help get the kids prepared," said Jessica Parise, a senior child life specialist.

The kids were treated to a DJ, photo booth, luau food, carnival food, snow cones, and cotton candy.

"We think Hawaii is very relaxing, so this was a great theme," said Trejah Brown, who is recovering from a brain tumor and a stroke. The 14-year-old from the Bronx is a dancer who has performed with the famed Alvin Ailey Dance Company at Lincoln Center. 

"She's a dancer, she's a performance artist, so they're working on getting her back to those high-level movements," Dr. William Watson, a neurologist, said. "She's walking independently at this point."

"I told my physical therapist that I love to dance and we have been doing many exercises such as leaps, and jumps, and turns," Trejah said. "That helps me with my balance and also how to keep my right foot stable."

Blythedale Children's Hospital has the largest pediatric therapy department in New York State, serving patients from birth through age 19. Social events like this one are part of the patient's rehabilitation.

"This part is really important for their development," Parise said, "to make sure that they are still being socialized and engaging with kids and families."

The stage was set for Trejah and other kids to show off their dance moves. 

"Dancing puts me in a certain place," Trejah said. "It puts me in this space where I forget about the stress and forget about all the bad things."