Health & Wellness

Fourth Annual Jake’s Ride for Dystonia Research Brings Community Together to Raise Money for a Good Cause

September 25, 2011 at 6:14 PM

MILLBURN, NJ - Over the past few months, Millburn and Short Hills have had their share of unusual events including Hurricane Irene, an earthquake, and massive flooding but most wondrous of all was an explosion of multi-colored bicycles that appeared throughout the township. Those bikes are the omnipresent symbol of the fourth annual Jake’s Ride for Dystonia Research. Township resident Jake Silverman is a 15-year-old Short Hills resident and sophomore at Millburn High School who was diagnosed with dystonia at the age of ten. He is the inspiration for this ride and his family, with the collaboration of more than 100 volunteers throughout the area, have raised as of today’s ride approximately $950,000 over the past four years. That money has been used to fund ten research grants of $65,000 each dedicated to finding better treatments and cures for this incurable disease. Jake’s Ride works under the umbrella of the Bachman-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation.

Jake Silverman began experiencing spasms when he was in kindergarten. Fifty doctors in multiple specialties were unable to diagnose his condition. By the sixth grade, Jake was taking 30 pills a day, was wheel-chair bound, and was unable to attend the sixth grade. Finally, he was diagnosed at Mass General Hospital in Boston as having dystonia, which is a neurological movement disorder that results in uncontrollable and often painful muscle contracts in one or more parts of the body. Dystonia affects an estimated 500,000 people in North American. At 12-years-old, Jake underwent Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and surgeries to implant two electrodes in his brain and a battery in his chest. It took a year for these procedures to kick in according to Jake’s father Jeffrey who states that, three years later, Jake is “doing remarkably well.” Jake is treated at Mass General by neurologist and director of its Dystonia Department Nutan Sharma, M.D. who explained that the money raised through Jake’s Ride makes a huge difference to testing new ideas in treatment and to helping the next generation of doctors in understanding this disease. She also expressed that, unfortunately, Jake’s saga in failing to find a diagnosis for many years is not uncommon.  

Jake was one of the 1,000 bike riders who chose among a one-mile, five mile, or ten-mile bicycle ride. But as Jake explained, just because he is “up doing stuff like riding my bike, I am not better. If the battery in my body were removed, my symptoms would recur.” Jake is a good student at Millburn High School and is assisted by a scribe who takes notes and by tutor Bunny Ucko who described Jake as being a great student and a terrific self-advocate.

Sign Up for E-News

The idea for Jake’s Ride was the fortuitous result of Jake’s parents, Nancy and Jeffrey Silverman meeting township resident David Gardner whose bike team had in the past raised money for the cause of multiple sclerosis. When the Silvermans told Gardner of Jake’s impending surgery and of the Bachman Strauss Foundation and its need for funds, Gardner decided to shift the focus of his efforts to dystonia research. He is now the founder and chairman of the Jake’s Ride committee which consists of twenty members, all local citizens. Nancy Silverman, a brander in her professional life, came up with the idea of the brightly colored bicycles that are placed strategically throughout the town. The bikes, no longer functional, are donated by the Millburn Township Sanitation Department.

Ride day began cloudy but at the nine o’clock ribbon cutting ceremony, the sun was shining bright. Brian Thompson, a news-breaking reporter for News 4 New York, emceed the event. The National Anthem was performed by Jake’s classmate Cameron Harris, who significantly, remembered all the words. The band British Invasion entertained for the third straight year and provided the best of 60s’ music. Another of Jake’s classmates, Anya Parker Lenz, performed the song “Mission Impossible” that she had written in Jake’s honor. Cheerleaders from the Jet’s Football Team’s Flight Crew enthusiastically cheered on the race participants. Food was provided by Whole Foods, Enzo’s Restaurant, and Splurge Bakery. Millburn Bicycle store High Gear was on hand to make necessary bike repairs.

Among the ride participants, were two students who have made Jake’s Ride the recipient of their Bar/Bat Mitvah’s projects because dystonia has directly impacted their families. Sarah Bressler of Short Hills explained that her mother Beth has dystonia which has affected her hands and arms. Sarah has donated $4,500 to Jake’s Ride raised through the sale of magnets.  Sarah and Beth rode the five-mile ride today. In addition, Summit resident Jacob Richman’s grandfather has Parkinson’s disease, an affliction closely associated with dystonia. Jacob was part of a strong Summit team that included a Summit 7th Grade Team. The two Summit teams raised a total of $3,600 for the ride. As Nancy Silverman described, volunteering for the ride does not begin on the day of the ride but months before with school children raising money through various ventures including lemonade stands, shoveling snow, selling bracelets. She said that it is a grassroots effort and that most of the money raised comes in the form of five and ten dollar bills.

Joining Jake on ride-day were two young boys who also have dystonia. Sixteen-year-old Dillon Dean-Frazier from Old Lyme, Connecticut and eleven-year old Christopher Hynes of Stamford, Connecticut were on hand to cut the ribbons beginning each race. Maria Hynes, Christopher’s mother, exclaimed that “the collaboration of all these people is truly heartwarming.” Dillon Dean-Frazier crossed the finish line in his motorized wheel chair to cheers of many. He is a 16-year-old high school sophomore interested in math and music who hopes to work for the CIA. He and his father Harlan were impressed with Jake’s Ride which they feel is a unique way to raise awareness of dystonia.

Gold Sponsors of the ride are The Silverman Family Foundation, Blackrock, Chatham Asset Management, and two anonymous donors. Silver Sponsors are Jeff Cohen & Family, Macy’s, the Och Family, The Patron Spirits Company, and Bonnie and Tom Strauss. Bronze Sponsors are the Bass Family, Michelle Cohen, Steve Samansky and Family, and Jody and David Gardner. Helping Friends were the Allied Beverage Group, the August Family, the Beckerman Family, Fedway Associates. In-kind donations were made by threesixty, RoadID, Tribecca Rooftop, Vantastic Shuttle, and Whole Foods. 

Sandra Cahn is the executive director of the Bachman-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation. She stressed that Jake’s Ride is on a mission this year to raise a total of $1 million and that contributing to that goal was more community sponsorship than ever. The anchor stores at the Mall at Short Hills participated and Neiman Marcus placed one of the painted bicycles and signage prominently in a store window. Ms. Cahn hopes that Jake’s Ride serves as a prototype for other rides throughout the metropolitan area and, indeed, the country.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Senior Rabbi of B'nai Jeshurun of Short Hills Leads 50 Adults to Israel

SHORT HILLS, NJ - Congregation B’nai Jeshurun’s Senior Rabbi, Matthew D. Gewirtz, led a group of 50 adults to Israel in early November. In addition to touring, the trip included Adult B’nai Mitzvah services and discussions with local leaders on various aspects of life in Israel.

Rabbi Gewirtz began his tenure as the Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in ...

Millburn-Short Hills Resident Participates In Woman's March in Washington, D.C.

January 21, 2017

MILLBURN, NJ - Throughout the country and around the world, Saturday, January 21 marked Women’s March on Washington where an estimated 500,000 people descended on the nation's capital. Additional 'Sister Marches' took place in cities around the world including Millburn Township neighbor Westfield. 

Millburn-Short Hills residents joined the movement, and one resident ...

Theft at Louis Vuitton; Fraud and Forgery Strike Nordstrom at Short Hills Mall

January 14, 2017

On January 5, 2017 Millburn Police Officer Zonn responded to the Louis Vuitton store at The Mall at Short Hills on a theft report. Louis Vuitton personnel report a Hispanic male wearing an olive colored jacket and jeans concealed a pair of sunglasses valued at $760.00 and left the store without making payment. The incident is under investigation by the Millburn Police Detective Bureau.

On ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_598e4bee3f95caa87a95_3a428b670b9e744650bb_unnamed__8_

Mon, January 23, 7:45 PM

Education Center, Millburn

Millburn Board of Education Meeting

Carousel_image_112f10965420be3a0166_612c4a3991ac14730b95_best_c20d525a95812bff361b_56974e1f719431e1e0d8_1480817210980

Tue, January 24, 11:00 AM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

EMPOWER HOUR - MMAC Empower Hour Continues the ...

Carousel_image_be5f7a9fcc36c2ca61c3_79c1b615c0888b5b177d_img_0339

Wed, January 25, 8:00 PM

Ricalton's Tavern, S. Orange

Roll Call Comedy Lab

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_6166a3b9d22d21868cef_slide1

Thu, January 26, 7:00 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Bike/Walk Millburn – First Meeting of Townwide ...

Hellenic Therapy Center to Host Anxiety Workshop for Ages 10-14 Years

January 22, 2017

Anxiety is a normal part of life and children often go through phases of feeling overwhelmed or nervous from time to time.  When anxiety is experienced more consistently however; that nervousness, shyness and fear can have serious negative impacts on a child’s life.

Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children.  Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders ...

Video: Point View's Dietze Says Beware of Headwinds in 'Market Call' Appearance

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President, and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, answers audience questions on BNN's 'Market Call':

bnn.ca

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive financial planning, to develop and achieve their financial ...

Audio: Point View's Petrides Tells Bloomberg Says Content Move Makes Sense for Apple

Point View's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on Bloomberg Radio (Interview starts at 1:35) discussing Apple's potential move into making original video content:

assets.bwbx.io

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...

Pure Barre Short Hills Announces 2017 Fitness Challenge

SHORT HILLS, NJ – Pure Barre, the largest and most established barre concept in North America, is pleased to announce the Set The Barre challenge, to help new and existing clients reach their 2017 health and fitness goals.

Whether you’re looking to switch up your fitness routine or start working out, Pure Barre can work with you to accomplish your new years resolutions. Designed to ...

Closed Fund Open Mind

Closed-end funds (CEFs) can play an important role in a diversified investment portfolio. They offer benefits similar to those of an open-end mutual fund, but also sport unique advantages.  

Unlike a traditional open-end mutual fund, CEFs have a fixed number of shares available to trade. Their price is not tied to the value of the underlying portfolio. The only way the number of shares ...