How the Gerson Community Rallied to Help Six-Year-Old Sy
And the winner is… you!
You may remember, a few months back, I was raising funds for a Sy Harger, a six year old boy with a rare condition called eosiniphilic esophagitis, who is on the Gerson Therapy. If you don’t recall my last post, let me catch you up to speed!
My name is Amanda Onken, and I work on the Gerson Institute’s patient follow-up program, where we contact patients to see how they are doing on the Therapy. I heard about Sy a few months ago, when his information came across my desk. Sy is six years old, and has a condition called eosiniphilic esophagitis which causes severe inflammation and swelling of the esophagus from eating. He had started the therapy several months beforehand, and was seeing remarkable results.
I noticed a note from his father that mentioned that friends of the family planned to hold a 5k race to raise money for Sy to continue the Gerson Therapy, and they wanted to know if anyone from the Gerson Institute could come for the race.
I wanted to help, so I got permission from Anita, our executive director, to go out to Florida to run the race. I also wanted to raise some money for Sy, to help him get the food and supplies for the Gerson Therapy, so I created a page on a fundraising website called GoFundMe. I started with a small goal of $300, but when I put the word out there to all the Gerson persons in the world, I couldn’t believe what an amazing response my page got. I raised my goal, only to have it exceeded over and over again, beyond what I had ever imagined.
Far from my modest original goal of $300, I ended up raising a grand total of $10,170 for Sy! Donations and personal notes of encouragement came in from all over the world, from India to Alabama. I am still blown away by the love and generosity from all the people that gave, and I hope it encourages other Gerson patients.
Thank you to each and every one of you that donated!
On January 24, I flew to Orlando where I met Sy, a cute, rambunctious little boy with bright blue eyes and blond hair. I also met his three siblings and, of course, his mother Heather and his father Jordan, the rock stars responsible for Sy’s success on the Gerson Therapy.
I was one of 400 enthusiastic runners that came out for the day of the race in Clermont, Florida. Though it was a bright and sunny day in Florida, there were kids having a snowball fight in a roped off area where artificial snow was made. The Gerson Institute had a booth to share information about the Therapy. Many interested people stopped by the booth to ask us questions, and others just stopped by to tell us how much they supported us and to thank us for being there. The run was beautiful, flat and fast, and went along Lake Minneola in Waterfront Park. At the finish line, everyone was awarded a snowflake medal and a high-five from Sy.
In my own sports-oriented mind, I thought what I could do for those that donated is to win first place in my age division, which I did! I ran for Sy, I ran for those that donated, and I ran for all Gerson patients out there!
In total, the Harger family raised $28,000 for Sy to keep going on the Gerson Therapy. I had the opportunity to speak after the race, and I presented the Harger Family with a check, from all the money I raised (with your help!). I gave the check to Jordan, Sy’s dad, who then spoke about what a struggle Sy’s illness has been, and how grateful he is now that Sy is getting better. He said that it’s happening because of Gerson and the immense support from their friends and community.
To date, Sy is doing very well on the Gerson Therapy. His tests are coming back with great results, and he is able to eat more foods than ever before!
I am grateful for all of the love and support that was given to Sy, and after this experience I realize how many people believe in Gerson and the healing power and life it gives back to people. I feel truly blessed to have been part of such an incredible day for an incredible little boy.
If you would like to read more about Sy and his family please visit their website here: http://www.nomuckmessages.com/
Photos from Sy’s Snowflake 5k
About the author
Amanda Onken is the patient follow-up coordinator and assistant to the medical director at the Gerson Institute. She also helps register participants for the Charlotte Gerson Restoration Center and Gerson Practitioner Training Program, and is Team Gerson’s running coach.
When she’s not running, Amanda also enjoys hot yoga, triathlons, hanging out with her dogs and cooking vegan meals.