Dana DeRuvo Hanner, co-founder of The Special Moms Network, is a pediatric nurse with decades of experience in children’s health care. As the mother of a special needs son Nicholas, Dana is also a long-time advocate for children with special needs, and is the author of the book The Ties That Bind: One Family’s Journey of Compassion with a Special Needs Child (Tate Publishing).
Dana is the mother of three children – oldest daughter Rachel is a Special Education teacher, youngest son Jackson is currently a film major at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, graduating in 2017, and middle child Nicholas, who sadly passed away peacefully in September 2015. Nicholas had been part of the Independent Group Home Living (IGHL) program on Long Island, after being a resident of The Center for Discovery in New York since 2006. While spending a great deal of time at the Center for Discovery with Nicholas, who as a baby developed cerebral palsy as a complication of a heart defect and came to the Center as a teenager, Dana met Susan Kleiman – whose son Ross was also a teen at the Center. Recognizing the need for a centralized resource for other parents of special needs children to help educate, support and empower them, Dana and Susan together developed The Special Moms Network. The group was launched in 2012 as a Facebook group site, and has since grown to now include a comprehensive interactive website with links to important resources in the special needs community, and a network of constantly growing members both across the country and throughout the world.
As a Registered Nurse, Dana brings a great deal of medical/healthcare background to the Special Moms Network, and has spent the past 15 years working as a maternal/child home healthcare nurse at Montefiore Home Health Care in the Bronx, New York. In addition to her role as both a pediatric nurse and mom of a child with special needs, Dana has also been an integral part of a number of other organizations helping both children and adults. Since 1998, she has been a volunteer and advocate with the Marty Lyons Foundation, encouraging and enabling families of terminally and chronically ill children to have wishes granted, as well as a volunteer with Canine Companions for Independence. At Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), she is involved in helping the organization enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support. Through CCI, Dana was able to help Nicholas and her family through their beloved Golden Retriever Feathers – who helped to bring companionship, and joy, to Nicholas for many years.
Driven by a sense of gratitude, hard work & dedication, Dana has been involved in many other charities and organizations, as well. She is an advocate and supporter of S.K.I.P. (Sick Kids need Involved People) of New York, the Bay Shore Rotary Club, SEPTA, Greenburgh Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and was a Special Needs Advisor for The Town of Greenburgh. She is the recipient of Citizen of the Month, Town of Greenburgh in January 1999, the President’s Award from Montefiore Medical Center for Direct Patient Care in 2002 and the Commissioner’s Community Service Award from the Town of Greenburgh in 2012. Dana also volunteers at the Center for Discovery in New York.
Dana’s book, The Ties That Bind: One Family’s Journey of Compassion with a Special Needs Child, chronicles the relationship formed between a family with a special needs child and a caregiver who helped heal, nurture and enhance the lives of Nicholas and the entire family. The book is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and through the publisher at https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61663-297-7