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St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children will celebrate two honorees at charity event for their dedication to the community

May. 2, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children will be celebrating two honorees during its annual Big Hearts Walk, a charity walk-a-thon to support New York’s most critically ill and injured children, at Crocheron Park on May 21 at 10 a.m.

Bourbon Street in Bayside owner Mark Boccia and St. Mary’s Project Manager of Strategic Initiatives Christine Duffy will be the honorees at the event for their contributions to the organization.

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(Photo by St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children)

“Mark and Chris have both made immeasurable contributions to St. Mary’s over the past several years, helping our organization to continue to provide the highest level of care to our patients and their families,” said St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children President and CEO Dr. Edwin Simpser. “We are proud to present them both with this special recognition and we encourage all members of the Bayside community to sign up to participate in this year’s walk today!”

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Big Hearts Walk honoree Mark Boccia (Photo by St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children)

In addition to Bourbon Street, Boccia is the owner of several other restaurants within the community, as well as real estate development projects. Boccia has been a fixture within the community for over 30 years; he is also involved with the Flushing Rotary Club, Queens Chamber of Commerce, Bayside BID and Bayside Business Association.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Boccia donated meals from Bourbon Street to healthcare workers at St. Mary’s.

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Big Hearts Walk honoree Christine Duffy (second from left) with other St. Mary’s employees (Photo by St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children)

Duffy has served as the project manager of strategic initiatives for St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children since 2008. During her time with the organization, Duffy has dedicated herself to the mission, vision and values of St. Mary’s, going above and beyond for the organization.

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(Photo by St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children)

Hundreds of community volunteers are expected to take part in the Big Hearts Walk. Following the walk, there will be various family-friendly activities available. This includes music, carnival games, arts and crafts and more.

Those interested in participating in the Big Hearts Walk can register online at stmaryskids.org/walk2023. On-site registration will also be available on the day of the walk, starting at 9 a.m. The registration cost is $25 for adult and $5 for children.

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(Photo by St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children)

St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children is the only post-acute care facility that serves medically fragile children with special healthcare needs in all of New York City.

The annual Big Hearts Walk acts as an essential fundraiser to ensure St. Mary’s can continue providing high-quality care to children who need it – regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Over 90% of the patients at St. Mary’s require levels of care that exceeds what their families can afford and what Medicaid is able to cover.

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