Family gives back in appreciation of care for children with cystic fibrosis
Aquebogue residents Cathy and Russell Goodale found out they were carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene when their six-week-old son, Keith, was diagnosed. Another son, Jeffrey, was later diagnosed with CF. The boys’ lifelong courageous battles with the disease — as well as those of the Goodale’s daughter-in-law, Jennifer, who passed away from CF — were the inspiration for a recent Goodale family financial gift to Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital.
Stony Brook Children’s and Dr. Catherine Kier, Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology/Cystic Fibrosis at the hospital, have been partners in the Goodale boys’ care for more than a decade. Keith is now 34, Jeffrey is 18.
“Dr. Kier is not just a doctor to us; she’s part of our family,” Cathy Goodale explained. “Along with a wonderful staff of nurses and other caregivers, Dr. Kier kept my son (Keith) alive long enough to get a double lung transplant,” which he received in 2004 at age 27. “I always knew my sons were in the best possible hands.”
Since the transplant, Keith’s lung function has continued to improve. His younger brother, Jeffrey, is thriving due to medication. Along with their older sister, Tracy, who does not have CF, the boys both work in the family business, Riverhead Building Supply.
“It has been a privilege to work with the Goodale family and I have been delighted to see the progress of Keith and Jeffrey in battling this chronic disease,” said Dr. Kier. “It is one of the most rewarding aspects of children’s medicine to help the youngest lives in such great need.”
The Goodale gift, established in honor of Keith and Jeffrey, will be commemorated with a plaque in Stony Brook Children’s state-of-the-art Pediatric Emergency Department, which opened in 2010 and is already slated for expansion. Emergency care for CF children is near and dear to Cathy’s heart.
“There are so many CF children who need a place to go when they have an emergency,” she said. “Keith had a few when he was younger, so I know how important it is for emergency room doctors to understand this condition and how to help. We were thinking of CF children and their parents when we made this gift.”
The Goodale family gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by an anonymous donor and will make a significant impact on the hospital, said Dr. Margaret McGovern, Professor and Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and Physician-in-Chief, Stony Brook Children’s.
“It is the support of grateful patients such as the Goodales that makes it possible for Stony Brook Children’s to continue to expand its services and fulfill its mission as Suffolk County’s safety net hospital and top treatment option for children with such severe chronic illnesses,” she said. “And it’s a direct reflection of the outstanding quality care provided by physicians such as Dr. Kier.”
CF affects the lungs and digestive system of approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States and 70,000 worldwide, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Once a disease that took the lives of children by the time they entered elementary school, CF today can often be managed because of advances in research and medicine.
Cathy Goodale has been facing her own health battle – with breast cancer – since 2003, and yet she focuses on relieving stress for other parents, not only parents of CF children but parents of any child who needs emergency or other care. “Stony Brook Children’s is the hospital, the place to go on Long Island,” she said. “So many parents depend on Stony Brook, as we did. I’ve thought so many times, ‘Where would we be without Stony Brook?’”
“Philanthropy has always been important to my husband and me,” she added. “I realized as a little kid that I enjoyed giving more than receiving, and I truly believe this is what I’m supposed to do.”