huntington hospital
John Cronin and his father, Mark Cronin, donated gift bags of socks and candy to healthcare workers. (Courtesy Huntington Hospital)

When Huntington resident John Cronin was admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 on Christmas Day last year, his prognosis was uncertain. 

John, 25, has Down syndrome, and people with the genetic disorder are at a higher risk for complications when contracting the virus, doctors say. 

“It is important to recognize the much greater risk that adults with Down syndrome face with the Covid-19 virus,” says Dr. Jim Hendrix, chief scientific officer at the LuMind IDSC Foundation, a Down syndrome research and treatment foundation. “A 40-year-old person with Down syndrome presents much more like an 80-year-old person in the general population.”

That’s why Huntington Hospital staff, especially Dr. John Anderson and Registered Nurse Patricia Coffey, took special care to consider John’s Down syndrome when treating him. This included allowing his father, Mark Cronin, to stay in the hospital room with John.

“This decision provided John with important support and aided the medical staff in their treatment,” Mark says.

After about one week of intensive treatment, including a regimen of high-flow oxygen, steroids, remdisivir, antibiotics, and a blood thinner, John recovered and left the hospital on New Year’s Day.

To repay the medical professionals who helped nurse him back to health, John donated more than 100 pairs of funky socks and packages of Skittles to the hospital staff.

“I am so thankful for the care I got at Huntington Hospital,” John says. “I was very sick, and they took care of me until I got better. Everyone was so nice to me.”

John’s donation was just one way in which he and his father continue to give back through their business, John’s Crazy Socks. The online store, johnscrazysocks.com, sells more than 2,000 types of socks with funky patterns. 

John and Mark donate 5 percent of their profit to the Special Olympics. They also donate some proceeds to their charity partners, including Autism Speaks, the Autism Society of America Nassau/Suffolk Chapter, the National Down Syndrome Society, and United Cerebral Palsy. To date, they’ve donated more than $400,000 to these organizations, according to the website.

John’s Crazy Socks’ donation to Huntington Hospital included its healthcare superhero, firefighter tribute, and EMT tribute socks, which all raise money for Covid-19 relief and the Huntington Community First Aid Squad.

“We are grateful to John and Mark for recognizing us with this generous donation,” says Dr. Nick Fitterman, executive director of Huntington Hospital, “and we look forward to sporting our socks throughout the hospital.”

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