How the Gerson Community Rallied to Help Six-Year-Old Sy

Amanda Sy cropAnd 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 bring 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.

A note from his father 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 would like to travel to Florida for the race. Thank you from Sy and Amanda

As a runner I am always up for a race and 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 needed 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 to reach out for help.

I am so grateful for 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 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 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.

Amanda wins her age group
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 present the Harger Family with a check from all the donations I received. 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 attributed Sy’s success to 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:

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 thrift shopping.


8 Responses to “How the Gerson Community Rallied to Help Six-Year-Old Sy”
  1. Brian Warner says:

    Thank your for your care and compassion for those that are not well ….

  2. Daniel says:

    Amanda – is the math correct? With your efforts and recognition by the Gerson Institute, you broght in 1/3 of the funds. Congratulations!!!

  3. I wasn’t aware he had EE and will follow his story, particularly on the use of this therapy. I am an adult with EE, relatively rare for an adult. I was diagnosed about 4 years ago after having trouble for several years. It is extremely difficult to work with and I do not believe it is entirely caused by food allergies. I cannot imagine babies and children with it, as it is so difficult to have.

  4. Karen Hood-Kasim says:

    Simply Beautiful!

  5. AaronD2012 says:

    Wow! I’m used to people doing 5k runs and the like to raise money for cancer research or for conventional treatment of diseases for an individual, which I have some serious reservations about. But when I see someone taking the initiative to use an actual treatment that really cures a disease, I am blown away! This is what we need more of in the world, an approach that works, not a cashflow for pharma. Great job Amanda!

  6. Excellent work Amanda! May God bless you and your family for such a inspiring and wonderful project! Congratulations!!!

  7. Roger Roman says:

    Lynda, Have you tried the Gerson Therapy? It will work.

  8. Alec Scott says:

    My wife who has cancer is a netball development coach.
    This involves many hours with young people, even though she is in her 60’s.
    When they knew Sue had the cancer they wanted to help. One of her very close friends proposed, organised and conducted “Sue’s Run for a Reason”. 350 people turned out on Good Friday. Their donations so far have totalled $20 000.
    It was very emotional and blew us away.
    Crowd funding for these reasons is seen by many as far superior than donating to a Cancer Fund, people know where the money really goes.


We're on Facebook