Posted By Elizabeth Ganga On November 5, 2011 @ 12:48 pm In Chappaqua,Uncategorized | No Comments
Chappaqua residents are running the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6 for many reasons, but at least two are doing it for the greater good. Two runners from the hamlet are raising money for The Blue Card , which assists impoverished Holocaust survivors, and a local doctor is raising money for the Tourette Syndrome Association . Here are parts of their stories:
The New York City Marathon — which takes place this Sunday — is more than a test of its participants’ personal best. It’s also an opportunity for Chappaqua resident Dr. Michael Bergstein to raise money for The Blue Card, a national organization that supports about 2,000 Holocaust survivors in the most dire financial straits.
“These Holocaust survivors suffered the indignities of the Nazis in their youth and now the indignities of poverty in their senior years,” said Dr. Bergstein, 53, senior partner in ENT and Allergy Associates in Sleepy Hollow and Yorktown Heights. “They should be held up on a pedestal and enjoying their last years — they suffered so much.”
Dr. Bergstein is among 70 participants who form The Blue Card’s NYC Marathon Team. Thanks to their support, The Blue Card can give much-needed cash assistance to help survivors with a wide range of essential living expenses, from electricity bills to dental care.more->
A runner for about a decade, with two marathons under his belt — the New York marathon last year and Boston marathon two years ago, Dr. Bergstein is a child of Holocaust survivors. While his parents survived the Holocaust with the help of a supportive, underground network, many of his relatives perished in Auschwitz, including his paternal grandparents.
Dr. Bergstein first learned about The Blue Card when one of his three daughters, Suzannah, now 15, was seeking a charity project to undertake in anticipation of her Bat Mitzvah. The organization’s mission — to help Holocaust survivors in need — inspired Suzannah to swim a mile in the Hudson River — an effort that raised $5,000 and made it possible for The Blue Card to purchase more than a dozen emergency response necklaces for survivors.
Dr. Bergstein learned that he, too, could combine his athletic passion — running — with his desire to help survivors — after reading an article last year about New York City Marathon participants raising money for The Blue Card. He created a website and then dispatched emails with its link to relatives and friends to solicit contributions. His efforts raised $2,500.
“I asked them if they could find a way to contribute in these difficult economic times to help others who are even less fortunate and people responded in a big way — which was very nice,” said Dr. Bergstein.
Inspired by her sister and father’s efforts, his youngest daughter, Olivia, 11, wants to raise funds for The Blue Card for her Bat Mitzvah project next year.
“We’re going to see if we can come up with an athletic event that she can use to raise funds for a very meaningful cause,” said Dr. Bergstein.
For more information about The Blue Card or to make a contribution, please log onto http://bluecardfund.org .
Dr. Michael Wald, who lives in Chappaqua and is the director of Integrated Medicine of Mt. Kisco, overcame a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis when he was 18 years old. He will be running his second New York City marathon this November 6th!! He is training hard and is running to help raise money for patients of his who have tourette’s syndrome.
Today, Dr. Wald is a doctor and a holistic nutritionist. In his practice, Wald treats patients whose doctors have not been able to find cures for their headaches, dizziness, stomach problems, cancer, seizure disorders, bone and other diseases like MS and epilepsy.
“My patients are constantly frustrated with their physicians partly because they know that their knowledge is limited to their specialty,” he says. “Others are frustrated because their doctors are not trained in nutrition and prevention and practice symptom suppression with medications.”
The ultra-fit Wald ran the New York Marathon last year in 4 hours and 1 minute. “I trained six months and a total of 633 miles,” he says, “and I did not miss a day and experienced no injuries. I thought the marathon was the goal for me, but I realized afterwards that what made it all worthwhile was that I set out to do something and kept my word to myself.”
He doesn’t reject traditional medicine: “Integrated medicine the way I have developed it (and how I practice) is not a rejection of allopathic (standard medicine) methods, but simply recognizes that health is best achieved when the causes of ill health are identified, managed and potentially cured with the tools of healing: namely diet, nutritional supplements, exercise, stress management, etc.”