Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 23 September 2011 00:00
The late Dr. Robert Bernstein was an avid runner: whether it was on Jericho Turnpike, Northern Boulevard or 106/107, friends saw the friendly OB/GYN and Jericho athletic coach running all over the community. Though he sadly passed away last year, this community leader is still inspiring people to get moving: on Oct. 1, organizers of the first annual 5K “Run for Rob,” at Bethpage State Park seek to raise $100,000 for Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC) in Dr. Bernstein’s memory.
Bernstein, his wife Roz, and sons Jonathan and Craig moved to Jericho in 1984, joining Jericho Jewish Center soon afterward. In 1986, the family moved to nearby Brookville, where Bernstein enjoyed entertaining, and saw the birth of their third child, Sarah. A fixture in the community, Bernstein coached Jericho Athletics throughout his children’s involvement in the Jericho School District, and was an attending physician at North Shore LIJ Hospital in Manhasset for thirty years, where he loved delivering babies.
“What separated Rob from everyone else was his innate ability to truly listen, this is what made him not only a first class physician, but the greatest husband, father, and friend,” said Roz.
His wife went on to explain Bernstein’s uncommon generosity and thoughtful nature – he even built a cottage for his in-laws behind the family’s home so that they could better watch their grandchildren grow up.
In January of 2009, Bernstein was diagnosed with brain cancer. “Obviously, it was devastating,” said Roz, who got involved with VABC soon after. In addition to providing support to those with brain cancer and their families, the organization gives grants to physicians conducting cutting edge brain-cancer research.
Now, though Bernstein unfortunately passed away due to a malignant brain tumor in June 2010, his family is dedicated to helping those afflicted with brain cancer.
“It is the goal of my children and I to make a difference and continue to fund the cutting edge research that is needed to give hope to those people who are diagnosed with this terrible disease,” said Roz,
While the 2011 run will be the first Run for Rob, his family hopes to make the event an annual occurrence. As of this writing, more than twenty teams of participants are registered, and the event has raised $47,930 for brain cancer research.
Of course, someone as active and respected in the community as Bernstein always was will be remembered in other ways, too: a delivery room in North Shore’s LIJ’s new Women’s Center now bears his name.
In addition to the walk/run, there will be a DJ, a 100-meter dash for the children, raffles and other surprises; the whole family is invited to attend. The event will also honor Dr. Alexis Demopoulos, Robert Bernstein Humanitarian Award; Lia and Peter Faulisi, Vision of Hope Award; Michael Friedlich, Kevin Lawlor and Robert Ramsay, Courage Awards; and Adrienne Prahl, Caregiver Award.
The Run for Rob will be held at 99 Quaker Meeting House Road at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale. Registration beings at 9 a.m., and the run/walk will begin at 9:45 a.m. Members of the community are invited to form teams, or join an existing team, in order to raise funds for brain cancer research in Dr. Bernstein’s memory. To connect with an existing team or start your own, visit www.voicesinmotion.org/runforrob.