I often ask myself, “is it coincidence, or destiny, that I am descendants of Zakim/Zakheim?”
I, a Tai Chi/Chi Kung practitioner from Jerusalem, Israel, was one of the first ones to be around when Dana-Farber was beginning to first consider complimentary approaches. And then, two years later, I had the opportunity to introduce mind-body approaches in a very limited way to their patients. Two years after that, I had the privilege of being around for the historical moment when Lenny took over and led the creation of the Zakim center. Before Lenny joined, we tried for a few years but it wasn’t enough; I had class only once a week, which moved from room to room. We had many meeting and lots of discussion, but it looked like it was going nowhere.
But within a few years of Lenny taking the lead, he was able to bring about such amazing progress compared to what was done before. No wonder he was what people call “a mover and shaker!”
Of course, he had help from other individuals such as:
Dr. Lee Marshall Nadler
Dr. Paul Richardson
Dr. Kenneth Anderson
Meredith Beaton/Starr and her husband Billy Starr
Rick Kaitz and Erica Kaitz, both of whom paid for my Tai Chi and Chi Kung class at Dana-Farber before the Zakim center had any money. Erica passed away, unfortunately, from a rare form of Cancer.
Close friends of Joyce and Lenny such as Carol and Dennis Kanin, the Schwartz, and Laura Molta (who does the great video, for free, every year!).
The center has also had help from special, powerful individuals who wanted to help in appreciation of the results they received from mind-body intervention while going through Cancer. Individuals such as Larry Lucchino and others.
(P.S. Sorry if I missed or did not mention other individuals who helped and are a big part of helping lead the Zakim center to where it is today!)
One of the special individuals that keeps leading and promoting the center (and Lenny’s legacy) is Joyce Zakim, Lenny’s wife, who I have known since the day I met Lenny. Joyce is one of the kindest and nicest individuals I have ever met. Always wearing a smile, always positive and cheerful and down to earth. Her constant time and energy, and that of a group of supporters and friends to her and Lenny, are one of the main reasons for the recognition and success of the Zakim center today.
THE MEDICAL DIRECTORS OF THE ZAKIM CENTER
Over the years, there were three individuals/directors whose leadership and direction allowed the Zakim Center to make huge steps forward in operations and recognition. Their personal time, passion, positive thinking, wisdom, and amazing personalities are what led the Zakim Center to where it is today.
DR. PAUL RICHARDSON
The first Zakim director, an unbelievably charismatic individual, is Dr. Paul Richardson. Dr. Richardson put a strong emphasis on research and achieving recognition through scientific research. While Dr. Richardson was the director, we were able to conduct a small visibility study.
In addition to that study, we wrote a paper: “QUALITATIVE STUDY OF CANCER PATIENTS' EXPERIENCES WITH AND REASONS FOR INTENSIVELY PURSUING QIGONG, A CHINESE MEDITATIVE EXERCISE THERAPY,” as well as a Pilot Study of “12 weeks of Qigong as Gentle Mind-body Exercise for Metastatic Breast Cancer.” And finally, we presented a poster at a cancer research conference with the title "Pilot Study in Metastatic Breast Cancer of Diurnal Cortisol Variability, Mood and Muscle Strength Associated with a 12-week Program of Qigong as Mind-Body Exercise.”
Dr. Paul Richardson was offered the position of principle investigator (PI) in a treatment study for Multiple Myeloma, a treatment which then tremendously improved the rate off success with Multiple Myeloma. In the video, Dr. Richardson summarizes novel agents and combinations used for treating multiple myeloma. Key strategies include targeting protein degradation, restoring immune function, and combination therapy.
If Lenny had survived a few more years, perhaps this treatment could have prolonged his life for another 10 years, or maybe even put his cancer into remission; such is the world of Cancer. See Lenny's Story: Cancer and the Quality of Life.
DR. DAVID ROSENTHAL
The second Zakim Center director was Dr. David Rosenthal. Dr. Rosenthal is a great man, whose patience and huge heart will just melt you as you are working with him. He is smart, humble, down to earth and a loving individual to patients, colleagues, and his lovely and kind wife, Judy. Dr. Rosenthal was a great leader and promoter for the Zakim Center and his well established and recognized leadership in the traditional medical world brought the Zakim Center great acknowledgment and recognition.
Both Dr. Rosenthal and his wife, Judy Rosenthal, were instrumental in bringing the “Hope Lodge” to Boston. I met so many individuals and families that saved so much money by staying at the Hope Lodge, which also and allowed them to better receive their treatments in the Boston area.
DR. JENNIFER LIGIBEL
The third and current medical director, and a very important individual to the Zakim Center, is Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, who started in 2014 and is our present Zakim Center director as well as a breast cancer oncologist. Dr. Ligibel is one of the smartest people I have ever met (along with my mother Professor Zichria Zakay/Rones and her research with Cancer, and my father in-law Dr. Irwin Harold Rosenberg, also known as Isaac.) Dr. Ligibel is such a kind, thoughtful, and funny individual, and her dedication and passion is another large reason for the success and recognition of our center. I am proud and honored to work under her at the Zakim Center. Her research is impressive, to say the least, and she is one of the leading scientist and expert in both exercise and diet benefits to Cancer patients and survivors.
After the event, Dr. Ligibel sent a beautiful and touching email to the Zakim Center staff that I would like to share it with you: