By Joe Cingrana
There’s nothing like seeing the joy and thankfulness on a child’s face during the holidays. Singer Jason Mraz recently gave a musical memory to a former patient and resident at New York’s Blythedale Children’s Hospital when he sang his hit “I’m Yours” with musician and student Jonas Urena.
Urena was a patient and resident at Blythedale Children’s Hospital from late August 2015 until Christmas Eve 2015 after being diagnosed with a rare syndrome called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). When he was starting his senior year of high school, Urena continued to go to Blythedale High School – Mt. Pleasant until April of 2016 as a day hospital out-patient.
GBS caused Urena to become paralyzed in the arms and legs. Unable to walk, change his own clothes, brush his own teeth, bathe, eat, or take care of basic necessities, Urena was devastated because, as he told 1010 WINS, “music is my life and I play, sing, and write music a lot.”
“Blythedale means everything to me. I’ll always consider it a second home. I felt so welcomed by all of the doctors, nurses, and therapists. They were so nice and helpful on my road to recovery.”
“I was able to gain most of my strength and confidence back because of Blythedale, Urena explained. “And I’m forever grateful.”
Urena also admitted that singing with Jason Mraz in the halls was an amazing experience for him. “He’s such a cool guy and he’s great to harmonize with! Although I felt my nerves as I was shaking a bit while singing, he made it a really good natural environment to sing in. I busted out my new ukulele that day, not knowing that I’d get to play a song with one of my favorite artists ever: singing one of my favorite songs EVER.”
Urena told 1010 WINS his experience at Blythedale ultimately changed his outlook on life and future — encouraging him to pursue a career as a Physical Therapist. Urena is now an Exercise Science major at Lehman College.
For the past twenty-one-years, radio personality Scott Shannon (WCBS-FM) has brought his live morning broadcast to the halls of Blythedale in Valhalla, NY. The annual event not only brings awareness to the organization’s plight but also serves to bring some much needed holiday cheer to the patients and parents at the hospital. For more information on Shannon’s annual event, click here.
As this year’s musical guests Jason Mraz, Rob Thomas, Mark Rivera, Sal Valentinetti, and Jax wandered the halls singing to children who were unable to make it into the party room — Jason and his merry singers were stopped in the halls by a past patient, Jonas Urena and his ukulele. After getting his guitar signed by the celebs, Jonas easily transitioned into singing Mraz’s 2008 hit song “I’m Yours,” and received the full backing support of the day’s guests.
Blythedale Children’s Hospital is New York State’s only independent, specialty children’s hospital. The caring and highly specialized staff is dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of children with complex medical illnesses and conditions. Their Board Certified physicians, experienced nurses and supporting clinicians work with families to provide individualized, intensive and innovative medical and therapeutic care. Together with specialized school curricula and family support services, Blythedale Children’s Hospital helps children achieve their rehabilitative goals and return to their communities.