Mental health and substance abuse often doesn’t seem as compelling as life threatening illnesses for fund raising, but lives are saved in such facilities as residential mental health clinic Silver Hill Hospital, as profoundly as in the hospitals treating cancer. Listening to the testimonials at the Silver Hill Hospital Gala – from honorees Lawrence Kudlow, anchor of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” a recovered addict and Peter Busch Orthwein, whose wife Beverly Busch Orthwein revealed how bi-polar disease debilitated her until a Silver Hill stay – made that clear.
Agent Johnny Podell, a year out of Silver Hill, recruited Cyndi Lauper to perform, capping off the evening with a transcendent performance of “At Last.”
The gala at Cipriani 42nd Street was co-chaired by Sigurd Ackerman, MD and Cecelia McCarton, MD, Michael Cominotto and Dennis Basso, Frederick Feiner, MD, and Vicki Feiner, Kirk Henckels and Fernanda Kellogg, Todd Hollander, DJ Cassidy, Jonny Podell, and Brittany Podell.
For those who don’t know anyone who has suffered through this, Lawrence Kudlow told the room, “Think of me.”
“I never believed I’d be clean and sober,” he said of the time, when he was so out of control his wife left. Although he has gone to many AA meetings and had friends who went there, “Silver Hill was one of the few drug and alcohol facilities I didn’t go to in those days.”
He went to Hazelton, but when it came time to apply for a long term stay, he said, he was broke. “Through the addiction years I had really blown a lot of money. I knew this was the end run. I was unemployable. My wonderful wife had … filed for divorce. We’ve been married 26 years, with Gods grace, but at that moment, it was very difficult. But really I wanted to do the program, stay for five months and do it right.”
“I remember seeing the lady about money. The long and the short is we didn’t have any and the insurance ran out real quick, but I wanted to stay … I told my counselor, ‘I need help. I surrender.’ I was on my knees…. In my whole life I will never forget what she said to me: ‘You want to come and stay here and go through this program long term, we are going to invest in you.’ I broke down and cried. So we got that done and I stayed and things got better.”
“It was the turning point for me. And the Lord has been very good to me in the intervening years. He has, in fact, given me a new career. I never saw it coming. And only because I was sober enough, when the door opened, I could walk through it and show up every day.”
Silver Hill is a non-profit facility. The funds raised provide scholarships for the kind of long term care that changed Kudlow’s life. Their Board of Directors are: Sigurd H. Ackerman, MD (Director, President & Medical Director), Ward F. Cleary, Deann Murphy (Co-Chair), Sperry A. DeCew, Esq., Peter Orthwein, Eric D. Collins, MD, Ruurd G. Leegstra, Elizabeth E. Moore, Linda Autore , Richard Canning (Director), Michael Cominotto (Director), Frederick S. Feiner, MD (Director), Judith Freedman, Richard Gannon, Theodore Herman, Todd Hollander, Claudette H. Kunkes, PhD, Paul Lambdin, Lance Lundberg, David Schunter and Laurie E. Williamson, Esq..