DC charity helps chronically ill children counter isolation of long-term hospitalizations

The Hope for Henry Foundation works to give chronically ill, hospitalized children laughter and smiles to fill their recover time with fun and entertainment. This is the hospitalized Henry enjoying a toy.
The Hope for Henry Foundation works to give chronically ill, hospitalized children laughter and smiles to fill their recover time with fun and entertainment. This is the hospitalized Henry enjoying a toy.

“There was nothing different about him, once he entered the hospital than he was the day before when he was on the soccer field,” mom Laurie Strongin said of Henry.
“There was nothing different about him, once he entered the hospital than he was the day before when he was on the soccer field,” mom Laurie Strongin said of Henry.

Henry Strongin Goldberg was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia when he was two weeks old. (
Henry Strongin Goldberg was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia when he was two weeks old.

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The Hope for Henry Foundation works to give chronically ill, hospitalized children laughter and smiles to fill their recover time with fun and entertainment. This is the hospitalized Henry enjoying a toy.
“There was nothing different about him, once he entered the hospital than he was the day before when he was on the soccer field,” mom Laurie Strongin said of Henry.
Henry Strongin Goldberg was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia when he was two weeks old. (

It might be challenging enough being a seriously sick kid stuck in the hospital long term.

Now, coronavirus concerns are limiting hospital visitations, and some kids can’t even see both parents at the same time. However, one D.C.-based charity is doing what it can to help.

The Hope for Henry Foundation works with hospitals, such as MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, to offer programs to support chronically ill children and bring them books, board games and toys, such as Lego sets.

“Items that help them occupy their time. It’s really, critically important,” Hope for Henry Founder Laurie Strongin said. “These kids are in the hospital for weeks, months and years.”

Strongin founded Hope for Henry after her son, Henry Strongin Goldberg, died at 7 years old of complications from a bone-marrow transplant.

Henry was diagnosed with a rare condition called Fanconi anemia when he was 2 weeks old.

He spent two-and-a-half years in various hospitals, and Strongin said it seemed everywhere they went, there were no sustained services that recognized that hospitalized kids still want and need to be kids.

“There was nothing different about him, Henry, once he entered the hospital than he was the day before when he was on the soccer field,” Strongin said. “He still needed — in order to heal and get better — he needed to be able to celebrate his birthday or trick-or-treat on Halloween, meet his favorite athletes or hang out with superheroes.”

The Hope for Henry Foundation helps make experiences like that happen.

There are numbers of ways to support the foundation’s mission to help bring smiles and laugher to children as they recover.

Donations, for example, might allow kids to listen to music instead of the continuous beeping of an IV pump. Or, keep up with their homework and keep in touch with friends on social media with a laptop. Or, watch a movie instead of staring at blank walls.

There’s also a Hope for Henry Amazon Wish list.

“Gift cards are amazing, because that allows kids to pick exactly what they want,” Strongin said.

WTOP’s Dave Johnson contributed to this report.

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