Philanthropy in Action

Plates for Pediatrics 2024

NewYork-Presbyterian and Saks Fifth Avenue Celebrate Transforming Children's Healthcare

by Spencer Simpson, NYP Development Communications

Plates for Pediatrics Dinner Honors Excellence in Children's Health

A very special patient was celebrated at NewYork-Presbyterian and Saks Fifth Avenue's recent Plates for Pediatrics Dinner. Held annually to help enhance the care provided by NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital, the evening featured Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann as Celebrity Chairs and highlighted the journey of Aiden Rodriguez, who was six years old when a debilitating tumor was discovered in his brain. Despite several procedures at a local hospital, the tumor was never completely removed and would continue to grow—putting immense stress on him and his family.

Fortunately there was another option: an advanced chemotherapy clinical trial facilitated by several care teams at NewYork-Presbyterian. Aiden had developed a choroid plexus carcinoma, an extremely rare tumor that occurs in early childhood, and this radical new approach, empowered by philanthropy and led by Mark Souweidane, MD, Vice Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery and Director of Pediatric Neurological Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Jared Knopman, MD, Assistant Attending Physician of Neurological Surgery and Interventional Neuroradiology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventional Neuroradiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, would prove to radically transform Aiden's life.

Dr. Mark Souweidane with Caleb and Aiden Rodriguez

Dr. Mark Souweidane with Caleb and Aiden Rodriguez

The Plates for Pediatrics dinner was established to honor stories like this and vitalize the incredible efforts of all the doctors, nurses, and other staff at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital. Proceeds from the evening help expand children's mental healthcare, supply our care teams with the latest medical and clinical tools, fortify our residency and fellowship opportunities for the next generation of doctors and clinicians, and more.