One last thank you
November 08, 2016
EVENT DATE: Nov 06, 2016
I am running the New York City Marathon on November 6 to raise money for the Anne Kastor Brooklyn Free Clinic. Anne is my late, former sister-in law. She worked throughout her career to provide medical care for people who otherwise would not have had access to it--first as a community health worker, and then as a doctor. Anne died three years ago of ovarian cancer, and the clinic is among her legacies.
Though Anne's sister, Liz, and I are no longer married, we remain close friends, and I still think of Anne and her widow Jill's daughter, Holly, as my niece. The clinic has become a family cause, and my sons, Ben and Chris, typically ask people to contribute to its support rather than giving them birthday and Christmas presents.
Ben is also running this year's marathon to raise money for the clinic. I'd say we were running it together, but he's at least 90 minutes faster than me, so that wouldn't be quite accurate.
The clinic deserves your support. Founded in 2006, it is a student-run, physician-supervised free primary-care clinic for adults without insurance. In ten years, it has grown to include a full-fledged nursing student volunteer program, HIV/HCV counseling and testing, STI testing, physical therapy and psychiatry, specialty referrals, and free prescriptions on many common medications.
In this remembrance, Dr. David Marcus, who was one of the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine students who founded the clinic, explains Anne's role in launching this important initiative:
"We kind of knew what we wanted to do," he writes, "but we didn’t have a plan. We also knew that students couldn’t open a clinic alone. A physician and faculty champion was needed. Asking around, it became obvious that Anne was exactly the person for us. She had a reputation for caring deeply about her patients (imagine that) and for being a passionate advocate for universal access to health care. As her obituary said, she was a 'life-long advocate for justice.'
"No other names even came up. Downstate is a large medical school that is part of an even larger inner city medical center. But still, every single person we asked – medical students, faculty, and administration – referred us to Dr. Anne Kastor."