Third-grade student struck by van in Huntington, undergoing treatment at Cohen Children’s Medical Center
Two distant Long Island communities have rallied to support an 8-year-old Lloyd Harbor girl seriously injured in a Huntington accident earlier this month.
GoFundMe campaigns have raised more than $40,000 to help Leah Mendelsohn, a third-grader at Lloyd Harbor School, who was hit by a van while crossing New York Avenue Nov. 3. Each fundraising campaign hopes to be able to offset the family’s medical bills while Mendelsohn begins her long road to recovery.
“Communities come together when they need to,” said Lisa Pinsker, of East Northport, a longtime family friend of the Mendelsohn family. “I’m happy to know that it’s going to help them — and after the amount of money we raised, they are pretty grateful for it.”
“I’m happy to know that it’s going to help them — and after the amount of money we raised, they are pretty grateful for it.”
— Lisa Pinsker
On Nov. 3, Leah was with her mother picking up her younger sister, Sara, from dance class at Laura’s Dance & Fitness Studio in Huntingtonat approximately 12:10 p.m. As Leah was crossing New York Avenue, she was hit by a 1997 Ford van traveling southbound driven by Pedro Guerrero, of West Babylon. He stayed at the scene of the accident.
Leah was transported to Huntington Hospital by the Huntington Community First Aid Squad, then transferred to the intensive care unit of Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park due to her extensive head trauma, liver and lung injuries.
The first GoFundMe Campaign for Leah was launched by ENT and Allergy Associates, a Garden City-based medical practice where her father, Michael, works as a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist. It has raised more than $22,800 of its $25,000 goal as of this paper’s press time Nov. 20 and can be found at www.gofundme.com/helping-leah-mendelsohn.
The medical office jumped into action as Dr. Mendelsohn has been out of work for several months, in and out of hospitals battling a life-threatening infection, according to Pinsker.
“It’s the financial burden that’s hitting the family right now,” she said. “When he’s not able to work, he doesn’t get paid.”
Leah’s father has extended his leave from work in order to stay 24/7 at the bedside of his daughter, who is undergoing extensive surgeries at Cohen’s. She most recently underwent a skull reconstruction surgery Nov. 14.
“We’re hopeful, but she’s got a really long road to recovery in front of her.”
— Lisa Pinsker
A second GoFundMe campaign was launched by family friend Tricia Avidano, of Cold Spring Harbor, who hoped to raise an additional $20,000 to help offset Leah’s medical bills and family’s expenses at this difficult time. Avidano turned to Pinsker for help in terms of helping direct the funds to the family.
The page has raised more than $22,000 of its $20,000 goal as of Nov. 20 and is no longer accepting donations. It can be found at www.gofundme.com/help-for-leah-mendelsohn-and-family.
In addition to the fundraisers, Pinsker said the Lloyd Harbor community has pulled together to prepare hot evening meals for the five-person Mendelsohn family.
“Every night there’s somebody coming in to make sure they are eating — eating healthy — and taken care of,” Pinsker said.
She said the family hopes as of Nov. 16 that Leah would be released from the hospital soon but will have to undergo extensive therapy at home.
“We’re hopeful, but she’s got a really long road to recovery in front of her,” Pinsker said.