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COMMUNITY: Devils and RWJBarnabas Health team up for young patients

The Devils and RWJBarnabas Health worked together last season to give five young patients unforgettable experiences

by Caela McLoughlin /

The New Jersey Devils partnered with RWJBarnabas Health for the 2018-19 season to provide unforgettable experiences to five young patients going through rough times. The patients were each invited to attend a Devils game where they were able to watch from a suite at Prudential Center with their families. They were invited to ride the Zamboni during the game, were visited by the Devils' mascot, NJ Devil, participated in a high-five tunnel and met a Devils player after the game.

In October, RWJBarnabas Health and the Devils were able to have brothers Nicholas and Yosef out to a game. Nicholas suffered massive head trauma in an accident at just four months old and after suffering from two strokes, he now has left side hemiplegia. Unrelated to the accident, his brother Yosef, has been diagnosed with speech articulation disorder. The two are from Clifton, New Jersey and receive care and therapy from the pediatric specialists at Children Specialized Hospital's campus in Clifton, one of the Hospital's 13 locations throughout New Jersey. They both continue to live their lives to the fullest, as they enjoy tennis, soccer, football and swimming.

During a Devils home game in November, 11-year-old Isabella from Springfield, New Jersey came out to Prudential Center. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at just 21 months old and currently checks her blood sugar with a finger prick multiple times per day and needs to keep track of everything she eats to take the correct amount of insulin. She is cared for by Dennis J. Brenner, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center who is also a member of Barnabas Health Medical Group. Her diagnosis hasn't slowed her down at all, as she loves playing sports and is a big hockey fan.

In December, Reilly, from Toms River, New Jersey, came to a Devils game. He was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis in 2011 and is cared for by Robert Zanni, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist affiliated with Monmouth Medical Center who is also a member of Barnabas Health Medical Group. Now, at 11-years-old, Reilly is a big ice hockey fan and plays at a local rink. The day was very special for him, as he's a big New Jersey Devils fan!

During a Devils home game in January, 7-year-old Sammie came out for a memorable experience. He was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis earlier this year, which is a neurological disorder causing inflammation of both sides of one section of the spinal cord often resulting in pain, sensory issues and/or muscle weakness or paralysis. He currently participates in therapy at Children's Specialized Hospital in Newark, an RWJBarnabas Health facility.

Video: MSG | Sammie's Journey

The last patient to come out to a Devils game during the season was thirteen-year-old Jaylen from Irvington, New Jersey. Jaylen was born with a congenital heart condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot, which effects normal blood flow through the heart. Since being diagnosed, he's had five heart surgeries, all at the Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, with his first open heart surgery at just four days old that was followed by a three-month stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. At one point, Jaylen was taking five medications each day, but today, Jayden is free from all medications and sees a cardiologist at Children's Hospital of New Jersey every three months.

The Devils will continue to partner with RWJBarnabas Health for the 2019-20 season to bring out young patients to Devils games to give them unforgettable experiences.

To learn more about what the Devils are doing in the community, visit To stay up-to-date on all Devils related news, follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @NJDevils. To follow RWJBarnabas Health on social media, fans can find them at @RWJBarnabas on Twitter and at @RWJBarnabas_Health on Instagram.

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