Improving the Patient Transport Experience: Sweet New Rides for Unterberg Children’s Hospital Patients

MMC electronic cars donation

From left with MMC’s new fleet of luxury cars is: Lauren Simons, Director of Development for the MMC Foundation; Child Life Specialists Casey Gilman and Kristin Kuhi; Debra Petersen, Director of Patient Care for Inpatient Pediatrics; Freehold Township High School Football and Cheer Program coordinator Audra Whisten and her son Nick; Jonathan Teitelbaum, MD, Interim Chair of Pediatrics and Section Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology, and Kellie Graf, Clinical Director of Same Day Surgery/PCAU.

Long Branch, NJ, December 13, 2021 — The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC) has a fun new way to transport their young patients to procedures in luxury style.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Freehold Township High School Football and Cheer Program, a fleet of luxury mini cars that includes a Mercedes, Bentley and Lamborghini will allow children to “drive” from their hospital beds to a treatment room or from a preoperative bed to the operating room, undoubtedly making the journey less stressful for pediatric patients.

“This is a fun distraction that we believe will certainly help reduce some stress for our young patients, and we are so thankful to the Freehold Township Football and Cheer Program for this generous and thoughtful donation,” said Jonathan Teitelbaum, M.D., Interim Chair of Pediatrics and Section Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology. Dr. Teitelbaum notes that the children will feel like they are driving the cars, which are actually controlled by a staff member via remote control.

Freehold Township High School Football and Cheer Program coordinator Audra Whisten, who traveled to MMC on December 9 with her son, Nick, a sophomore and member of the football team, said that the team raised money to purchase the electric cars, and received a $1,000 donation toward their fund-raising from the Ryan O’Donoghue Memorial Foundation. The Foundation was started in memory of Freehold Township High School graduate Ryan Fintan O’Donoghue, who died April 13, 2020 at the age of 19.

Audra had previously traveled with members of the Football and Cheer Program on November 21 to join the annual toy run to benefit The Unterberg Children’s Hospital coordinated by the Blue Knights NJ XV and Jersey Shore HOGs motorcycle groups. Additionally, they contributed to the cash donation made by each rider that benefits The Comprehensive Cystic Fibrosis Center at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital. The Cystic Fibrosis Center — which includes both pediatric and adult programs — is accredited by the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is designated by the State of New Jersey as a referral center for Cystic Fibrosis Newborn Screening and has been designated as a Therapeutic Development Center by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Therapeutic Development Network.