Twenty three years ago Bob and his wife
suffered the loss of a severely brain damaged child. Although they received tremendous support
while their very medically frail child received nursing care in hospital, they
realized there were few services available to help them if they were to leave -
the few services that were available were very fragmented and difficult to
The daunting task of home care was
overwhelming, especially without an agency available to coordinate the services
needed to support Angela at home. They also learned that there were no local
specialized homes or facility available that could care for her; he nearest
facilities were hours from their home on Long Island. The overall lack of services locally put
additional emotional and physical strains on the family.
Faced with their personal tragedy, made worse
by the many voids in the system, the Policastros committed themselves to
improving the lives of medically frail children and their families.
Bob has since been a strong voice addressing
the problems and needs facing medically fragile children and their families,
pushing forward with advocacy and educational efforts to promote a greater
knowledge and understanding of medically frail children and their needs.
In 1992, the non-profit Angela's House, was
created to offer families and professionals an agency to call to help medically
frail children and their families. Eight
years later, the first Angela's House facility, the first of its kind special
home for children on Long Island, opened in East Moriches. In 2005 a second
home was opened in Smithtown, and a third is planned to be opened near Stony
Brook in the near future.
Angela's home provides a wide of programs and
support services for the disabled children and their families, and conducts
several fund-raising events during the year.
For more information, visit their website: angelashouse.org.
Due to his hectic schedule, Bob had to leave
before we could take a photo, so we borrowed one from Angela's House website -
that's Bob in the Santa suit at one of their holiday parties.