ALBANY — A new hospitality kitchen to benefit families whose child is receiving treatment at the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Center has been unveiled.
Hannah’s Hideaway was dedicated in memory of Hannah Priamo, a Melodies Center patient from Perth, N.Y., who passed away in December 2019. Diagnosed with leukemia at age 15, Hannah was a longtime patient at the Melodies Center, and quickly became a friendly face in the clinic.
“People would say, if you hear the laughter, you know what room Hannah was in,” said Susan Clarke, RN, nurse supervisor at the Melodies Center who became very close with Hannah and her family.
It was Hannah’s dream to build a kitchen in the Melodies Center.
“She came up with the idea to have a kitchen here, for these families to have a place to go to get a cup of coffee or a snack, so they didn’t have to leave the floor while their child was getting treatment,” Clarke said, adding that Hannah was a “bright light” who had a positive attitude, and handled her cancer treatments with grace.
“She wanted some place where people could get away while you’re here,” said Hannah’s father Paul Priamo. “Because you can’t get away from the beeping, and the nurses coming in and out, and hospital life, and she didn’t want the hospital life.”
With help from child life specialist Mary Beth Nichols, Hannah came up with the idea to host a Melodies Family Feud Fundraiser, with Melodies Center physicians competing against the nursing staff.
“As time went on, at every appointment, I would sit in that room with her, with my notebook, and she would tell me what she wanted done at the fundraiser – everything from the food that she wants, to the colors, the décor, even the date. Every single detail was her,” said Nichols.
The fundraiser was planned for January 2020. But one month before the event, at the age of 22, Hannah lost her battle with leukemia. The fundraiser went on as Hannah had planned, raising more than $18,000 through raffle items and ticket sales.
The pandemic put the kitchen project on hold. Now in 2022, with help from the Albany Medical Center Facilities Operations and Engineering and Construction departments, the Melodies Center built the kitchen of Hannah’s dreams. Community businesses, like Upstate Chevy Dealers and Flooring Environment, made donations to help with the renovation, and friends of the Priamo family donated money to buy furniture and food to stock the cabinets.
A picture of Hannah welcomes visitors at the door to the kitchen. The refrigerator is full of water and juice, the cabinets are full of snacks, and there’s a coffee pot, per Hannah’s request. The room is decorated with pictures of sunflowers and the beach – Hannah’s favorites.