Meet the 2024 Co-Chairs:
Alexandra and Suzanne Iovanna

Co-Chairs - Alexandra and Suzanne

Former patient family steps up to co-chair 2024 Boston Haunted Walk

Alexandra was just a year and half old when she received burn treatment at Shriners Children’s Boston, an experience that impacted her entire family. She has no memory of grabbing a bowl of hot soup from the kitchen counter, but her mom, Suzanne, remembers the day vividly. Ever since that day, their gratitude for the care Alexandra received for her scald injury has motivated them to give back. This year, Alexandra and Suzanne are excited to deepen their support by serving as co-chairs of the 5th annual Boston Haunted Walk.

Suzanne describes Alexandra as a very easygoing child who never pushed boundaries like climbing out of her crib or grabbing for objects out of reach. As she prepared lunch for Alexandra and her older brother on a winter day in 2001, she never imagined her young daughter would reach for the bowl on the edge of the counter. Within seconds, a small amount of hot soup splashed on Alexandra’s face, and as Suzanne remembers, “I was in shock. I just froze.” A friend helped her call 911 and they were taken to the emergency room of their local hospital. A family friend had been a nurse at Shriners Children’s Boston and Suzanne wanted to get Alexandra there as soon as possible, because she knew they could help.

When they finally arrived at Shriners Children’s Boston via ambulance, the burn care team worked swiftly to evaluate the extent of Alexandra’s injury. They discovered the soup had also splashed onto her arm, saturating her clothing just enough to scald the skin. This additional injury was not detected in Alexandra’s earlier emergency room examination. Suzanne was relieved when they were admitted to Shriners Children’s Boston an overnight stay. “As hard as it was, I just felt so grateful that we were in their hands,” she said.

Suzanne used a stroller on the inpatient unit to walk with Alexandra, helping to calm her and pass the time. “As we walked around, I saw other patients with injuries that were much worse and I felt so lucky,” she recalled. “It was a really eye opening experience and I knew at that time I wanted to give back.”

According to Suzanne, Alexandra “looked like a mummy” upon her discharge the next day. They returned to Shriners Children’s Boston every day for dressing changes for the next few months. “I remember being welcomed at each visit,” said Suzanne. “I was nervous, and it was a sense of relief when I saw everyone. It was a very difficult time for all of us, and they offered support for our entire family.”

Alexandra’s arm was the last part of her injury to heal. “As I got older I noticed the mark on my arm, and my parents explained to me what happened,” she said. “Although it was traumatic, they told me we were fortunate because there are families in far worse situations. I was aware of how much Shriners did for me and I wanted to help.”

Every Christmas Alexandra purchased toys to donate to Shriners Children’s Boston, and soon began to donate money instead of receiving holiday gifts. She trained to be an esthetician with the eventual goal of helping other pediatric burn patients. “I could have had gone back to Shriners for laser treatment on my arm, but decided not to because it’s part of who I am,” explained Alexandra. “As I learned about myself in college, I decided I wanted to do something to help other people feel good about themselves and be comfortable in their skin.”

After Alexandra graduated from college, she sought to further her involvement with Shriners Children’s Boston. Co-chairing the hospital’s signature fundraiser was just the opportunity she was looking for. “I’m super excited to meet other patients involved in the Boston Haunted Walk and have the chance to bond over our shared experience,” she said. “I’m also really excited to get out into the community to help educate people about the incredible impact Shriners Children’s has on the lives of patients and families.”

Registration is now open for the 5th annual Boston Haunted Walk, to be held on Sunday, October 27 at The Garden at Elm Bank in Wellesley, MA from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. All proceeds will support world-class pediatric burn care, reconstructive plastic surgery, and cleft lip and palate care at Shriners Children’s Boston, provided regardless of families’ ability to pay or insurance status. For more information or to register, visit

Meet 2024 Co-Chairs:
The Williams Family

Co-Chair - The Williams Family

15-year-old Chloe has been a patient at Shriners Children’s Boston since she was a toddler, after burning both hands on a pellet stove. Inspired by the care she received, Chloe is a committed supporter of the hospital, raising funds and awareness to help other children with burn injuries. For the past three years, Chloe and her family have participated in Shriners Children’s Boston’s signature fundraising event – the Boston Haunted Walk. This year, Chloe and her family are taking on an even bigger role – Chloe and her parents Jennifer and Derek are serving as co-chairs of the event. Jennifer explained serving as co-chairs was an important way they could keep spreading the word about Shriners Children’s Boston and raising funds to support the organization.

When Chloe was just a year old, her father Derek was filling a pellet stove when little Chloe snuck between his legs and, in an attempt to stand, burned both palms on the hot stove. It all happened so fast Derek did not have a chance to shield Chloe from the stove. He immediately alerted his wife Jennifer who called 911.

While Chloe experienced burns on both palms, her right hand was more seriously injured. The family lives in Maine and Chloe was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital. It was a cold, snowy December night and the ambulance had trouble on the slippery roads. Chloe’s mom Jennifer, who was with her in the ambulance recalled, “The experience was harrowing and the ambulance nearly went off the road a few times during the snowstorm.”

Once at the hospital, doctors recommended transferring Chloe to Shriners Children’s Boston. The severe weather delayed the transfer so an on-call local hand surgeon examined Chloe’s injuries. His initial diagnosis was that Chloe’s hand would heal and she would not need extensive follow up.

Two weeks later during Chloe’s follow up visit with the surgeon; it was clear her hand injuries were more complicated than his initial diagnosis indicated. Chloe’s fingers and right hand had fused into a tight fist. At that point, the surgeon recommended occupational therapy, which Chloe participated in for about a year and a half.

While Chloe’s hand improved somewhat, Jennifer and Derek decided to seek treatment at Shriners Children’s Boston to see if more could be done for their daughter. Chloe had her first skin graft surgery at Shriners Children’s Boston with Matthias Donelan, MD, plastic surgeon, to begin the process of repairing her right hand and increasing its mobility. Since her injury, Chloe has had a number of procedures at Shriners Children’s Boston, including three surgeries and two skin grafts.

“I can’t imagine what would have become of Chloe’s hand if we did not come to Shriners Children’s for care. I am grateful for the expertise, compassion and philanthropic support that made Chloe’s care possible,” Jennifer said.

Over the years, Chloe and Jennifer have developed close relationships with several Shriners Children’s Boston staffers. Medical photographer Sue Brogna and care manager Debbie Sullivan have made a particular impact. “My absolute life saver is Debbie Sullivan, who has been there since day one. She has been there to answer any questions or concerns I have had over the years and made sure our trips down are as smooth as possible! We also can’t forget our favorite photographer Susie,” said Jennifer.

In addition to her efforts supporting the Boston Haunted Walk, Chloe and her family have found many creative ways to raise funds for the hospital. During past holiday seasons, Chloe and her best friend Courtney sold homemade Christmas ornaments and hot chocolate at Ross’ Trees and Wreaths (co-owned and operated by Chloe’s uncle) to benefit Shriners Children’s Boston. Chloe said, “Shriners has done so much for me and I wanted to give back!”

For the past three years, the family has hosted a 4th of July BBQ and fundraiser – aptly named Chloe’s Red, White, and Boo 4th of July Bash. “We have been very successful and it keeps growing year after year! We are so fortunate to have such great support from our family and friends to pull this event together,” said Jennifer.

The family also started an ATV Benefit Ride with help from the Penobscot Ridge Riders ATV club. “It was our first year doing it and we had over 40 machines show up. I was taking down names, not paying attention. At one point, I finally looked up and there was just this huge line, it brought tears to my eyes. It’s amazing to see strangers come together and support this wonderful cause and it’s our way of giving back and saying thank you for everything they have done for Chloe and other kiddos,” shared Jennifer.

Now a freshman in high school, Chloe loves animals – especially dogs and horses. When she is not exercising her philanthropic skills for Shriners Children’s Boston or attending classes, you can find her at the barn.