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Children’s Hospital Honors Somers Student

SOMERS, N.Y. – Samantha Ziegelmeier , a 16-year-old Somers resident, has good reason to sympathize with children who are stuck in the hospital. She has been a patient at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital on several occasions, the first time when she was just 17 months old.

Samantha was back in the hospital on her 13th birthday for a dislocated knee. “The nurses were so wonderful," she said. "I really didn’t want to be there, but they brought me gifts and really inspired me.” Samantha decided to find a way for other kids to receive toys when they are hospitalized.

She presented her idea to fellow members of the Croton Falls Community Church , then turned the mission into a major project, collecting toys and spare change. On April 27, three years after her last hospitalization, Samantha arrived at the children’s hospital loaded with toys, games, gizmos and a donation of $500.

“We’re so grateful for this generosity, especially at this time of year when all the holiday gifts are depleted,” said Toni Millar, director of the hospital’s Child Life Program. The hospital rewarded the teen by naming her a “Young Philanthropist.”

Her project, known as “Smiles from Sami,” will continue. A website is under way to reach a broader audience of people who want to brighten the days of bedridden children.

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