LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the sixth consecutive year, Short Hills residents Dr. Marc Greenstein and his wife Faith, held Strides for H.O.P.E, a 5k run and 2k family walk to raise awareness and funds for pediatric epilepsy. The Greenstein's inspiration to establish the Greenstein Help Overcome Pediatric Epilepsy (H.O.P.E) fund was their Ethan.
Following his first seizure at just over six months old, Ethan was diagnosed with Sturge-Weber Syndrome with one of the main symptoms being epilepsy. Faced with this serious condition, the Greenstein's relied on their joint experience in the medical field to help the family navigate the process and understand the diagnosis.
The Greenstein's sympathized for other families in similar situations who didn’t have their medical background and wanted to help them. "Strides for HOPE is about bringing together the community to raise money and awareness for the pediatric epilepsy program at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. The money is used to make the process of seizure diagnosis and management somewhat easier for children, families and staff at the hospital. For example, Strides has helped make the examination rooms more child friendly, supported a detailed dietary program to manage difficult cases of epilepsy and purchased new equipment for monitoring seizures." said Dr. Marc Greenstein.
Ethan received quality, attentive care at St. Barnabas Medical Center, where his father is an attending physician. “We were impressed with the care that the nurses provided, and the detail that the doctors provided,” said Greenstein. “They took a really bad situation, and made it a little bit easier.”
As the Greenstein H.O.P.E. fund grew, the idea of holding a 5k took hold. The Greensteins, in association with the Barnabas Network, holds a successful event with each of their Strides for H.O.P.E walks.
Today, the annual walk is a revered community event, featuring face paint, balloons, and fun for the family. Surrounding the festivities this year, the 5k run and the 2k family walk at the Livingston High School Oval raised funds for the Barnabas’ pediatric epilepsy program.
In the past, Strides for H.O.P.E. proceeds have gone to Child Life at St. Barnabas. Additionally, an entire dietary program for children with epilepsy, known as the ketogenic diet, has been financed by the fund. Although the ketogenic diet is commonly used for weight loss, it is also a proven remedy used to reduce seizures in children with epilepsy. Donations also help fund family support groups.
For the future, the Greenstein's aim to incorporate more families into the fundraiser, to help connect with more families that are affected by epilepsy.