Focus on Philanthropy: Q&A With the Gershman Family

gershman family

For the Gershmans, philanthropy is a family tradition. From left: Josh, Alisa, Seth and Charlie.

When Charlie Gershman of Briarcliff Manor developed seizures at age 12, his parents, Seth and Alisa, took him to a pediatric neurologist who recommended he see Carrie Muh, MD, Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Esmond Nissim Interventional Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery Program at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, in Valhalla.

Dr. Muh recommended that he have a surgery called a stereoelectroencephalography, or SEEG, where EEG electrodes are placed in the brain to monitor activity. “We watched him have seizures for a week, until we had enough information to determine where the seizures were starting in his brain,” says Dr. Muh. It was discovered that Charlie had a lesion in his right temporal lobe. Dr. Muh performed a right craniotomy to remove the lesion, and the now-13-year-old has since been seizure-free.

To thank Dr. Muh and the surgical team, the Gershman family made a generous donation to Esmond Nissim Interventional Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery Program at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. We recently sat with the Gershmans to discuss the importance of philanthropy in their lives.

Charlie, tell us about your experience at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

I had my first-ever seizure during the height of COVID; that’s when the lesion was discovered. I was in the hospital for two weeks. My family and I had such a great experience at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Dr. Muh and her team were so nice to me and explained everything that was going on. There were so many nurses who were always there for me. And the Child Life Team always checked in to make sure I was doing okay.

Seth and Alisa, you thanked the hospital with a generous donation. What made you do that?

It’s our way of giving back to all the doctors, nurses, technicians and Child Life support team who took care of Charlie during his stay at Maria Fareri.

Charlie, you did something special, too. Can you tell us about your donation?

I decided to donate a large portion of my bar mitzvah gifts to the Pediatric Neurosurgery Program. I wanted to thank the hospital for all everyone did for me and my family. If I won the lottery, I’d want to help make the children’s hospital even bigger!

Seth, can you tell us about your employer’s philanthropic involvement?

Unitex, where I serve as the director of marketing, is both a vendor and benefactor of Westchester Medical Center. Unitex has been a longtime partner, supplying linen and uniform services to the hospital and has supported many of the annual fundraising events, such as the annual gala, golf tournament and holiday toy drives. Giving back to such a special place, which does such amazing work, is in both my family’s and company’s DNA.

Josh, how do you feel about your family’s generosity?

I feel we do the right thing, and I learn from my parents’ actions. I’ve also been volunteering at the JCCA Pleasantville Cottage School Campus with my mom the last few years.

Seth and Alisa, is there anything else you’d like to add?

We are forever grateful for the care Charlie received at WMCHealth and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW PHILANTHROPY SUPPORTS ADVANCED HEALTHCARE IN YOUR COMMUNITY OR TO DONATE TO ANY WMCHEALTH HOSPITAL, PLEASE VISIT WMCHEALTHGIVING.ORG OR CONTACT OUR WMCHEALTH FOUNDATIONS AT 914.493.2575 OR VIA EMAIL AT [email protected].