Upstate News

October 15, 2004
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Book to offer practical, spiritual help to parents with hospitalized children

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A book offering practical and spiritual help for parents with hospitalized children—written by parents of hospitalized children—will be published next year by the Pediatric Spiritual Care Advisory Council of SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital.

The book, to be called a “A Second Set of Hands: Practical and Spiritual Help for Parents With Hospitalized Children,” will serve as an inspirational resource and practical guide for families who navigate the stormy waters of their child’s medical needs, said the book’s coordinating editor, the Rev. Wesley Fleming, a member Pediatric Spiritual Care Advisory Council and pastor of Eastside Vineyard Church in DeWitt.

“We hope this book will help these parents cope with the feelings of helplessness, fear and anxiety they may have when their children are seriously ill, in need of hospitalization or a medical procedure,” Fleming said. “We want parents to understand that they are not alone in this experience, that others have traveled this path before and have finished well.”

The book, which takes its title from a story told by Lou Farchione, M.D., a member of the Pediatric Spiritual Care Advisory Council and a retired Syracuse pediatrician who described his approach to patient care as involving both his hands and “a second set of hands” from God, will include stories from parents about how their spiritual life helped them through their ordeal.

“Oftentimes, one’s spirituality and faith plays a significant part in how one weathers these emotional and difficult times,” Fleming said. “We hear many tender stories about how prayer and meditation helped lift spirits, brought comfort and inspiration to these families and their ill children. There is even scientific evidence that shows how prayer positively influences a patient’s recovery.”

Along with heartwarming stories, the book will offer practical advice for families. Sidebars and footnotes will provide helpful tips and resources for managing stress, maintaining healthy family relationships, and balancing career and financial concerns—challenges that are unique to parents with children who have medical needs.

Fleming is seeking additional inspirational stories from parents or families to be included in the book. Submissions can be hand-written, typed, emailed or left on voice mail. Photographs and hand-drawn pictures are welcomed and encouraged. However, a self-addressed, stamped envelope must be provided in order for photos and artwork to be returned. Submissions will be accepted through December.

Send stories to Rev. Terry Culbertson, Spiritual Care Manager, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, NY 13210, or email to

The Pediatric Spiritual Care Advisory Council of SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital Council works directly with University Hospital’s Pediatric Chaplain Rev. Louise Shepard in strengthening spiritual care to hospitalized children and their families.

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