Running for a Cause: How I’m Helping a Young Gerson Patient (& You Can Too!)

Sy's Snowflake 5kHappy 2013 to everyone! I know that two of your resolutions are to get fit and help others, right? Well, those two things are my passions, and when I saw an opportunity to help a young Gerson patient while also getting fit I couldn’t pass it up. I know that once you learn about this sweet, little boy you also won’t be able to pass up helping him get well with the Gerson Therapy!

As the Assistant to the Medical Director at the Gerson Institute, one of my responsibilities here is to follow up with patients who are doing Gerson Therapy. I ask them questions to see how they feel and try to gauge how compliant they are on the therapy. I also help answer any questions they may have along the way and help them find resources and support.

A couple months ago, I got an email about a six-year-old boy in Florida named Sy Harger with eosinophilic esophagitis, an illness that can cause severe allergic reactions and swelling of the esophagus from eating. Without proper treatment, he would have to have a permanent feeding tube to receive his nutrition. After years of trying the treatments traditional medicine has to offer, his parents decided to try the Gerson Therapy.

After several months on the therapy, Sy is now able to consume some organic vegetables and juices and they are seeing great results!

Sy’s family mentioned that they were holding a 5K run to raise money to buy the organic produce that the Gerson Therapy requires. Sy currently eats and drinks about 20 lbs. of produce a day. As we all know, organic foods are essential, but can get expensive.

As an avid runner and the coach of the Gerson Institute’s running team, I was instantly intrigued and excited to hear about the race. I wanted to help this little boy and his family, so I asked our executive director if I could go and run the race for his cause, while raising money to help Sy’s family get supplies and food for the therapy.

Well, I’ve been approved and have my plane ticket bought!

So, on January 24th I will fly out to Orlando, Florida to meet Sy and his family and speak with them about his experience on the therapy. I would love to be able to bring a donation to his family to help them buy the produce it takes to do Gerson Therapy. The Gerson Institute is helping to sponsor the event, but in addition to the Institute’s support I made it my mission to personally raise funds to help Sy’s family with the cost of  supplies.

I know the best way to reach my goal would be to ask all the wonderful Gerson persons out there! If you would like to donate to help Sy, please visit his website at and click Donate on the right-hand side.

Thank you in advance for your help and support. I can’t wait to return with pictures and stories from the race. I am sure it will be a blast!

If you live near Orlando, please come out on January 26th to run, volunteer, or even just cheer us on! To learn more about Sy and his family and/or register for the race, please visit the website for Sy’s Snowflake 5k!

Sy’s Snowflake 5k
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Waterfront Park, Clermont, FL
8:30 AM

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, triathlon, hanging out with her dogs, and cooking vegan meals.


2 Responses to “Running for a Cause: How I’m Helping a Young Gerson Patient (& You Can Too!)”
  1. Trish Strawn says:

    Growing Synergy would be happy to help with local food that is needed. Please contact me Trish Strawn via email [email protected]

  2. Linda Turner, Holistic RN says:

    Go Girl! That is fantastic that you are able to go and that you are helping to fund raise. I know it will mean so much to the family and it will be so helpful for you to be able to share with others there about the Gerson treatment.

    Working with children who are unable to eat normally, as I have for so many years as a nurse, I am thrilled to hear of his success story with the Gerson Therapy! How wonderful!


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