2013-01-10 / Community

Hurricane Sandy Volunteer Receives Treatment At Winthrop


Hurricane Sandy volunteer Robert Burcham of Tennessee (right) receives a Tysabri Infusion, which helps slow down the progression of Multiple Sclerosis. He is joined by his care team at Winthrop (l.-r.): Denise Cheng, RN; Eileen Boylan, RN; and Malcolm Gottesman, MD, Chief of the Division of Neurology and Director of The Winthrop Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care Center. Hurricane Sandy volunteer Robert Burcham of Tennessee (right) receives a Tysabri Infusion, which helps slow down the progression of Multiple Sclerosis. He is joined by his care team at Winthrop (l.-r.): Denise Cheng, RN; Eileen Boylan, RN; and Malcolm Gottesman, MD, Chief of the Division of Neurology and Director of The Winthrop Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care Center. Volunteers have travelled from across the country to assist with Long Island relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy. The Team at the Winthrop Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care Center was recently given the opportunity to give back to one such volunteer, 41- year-old Robert Burcham of Tennessee.

Although Mr. Burcham suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), he hasn’t let it stop him from assisting victims of environmental disasters across the country over the years. Mr. Burcham is an expert in his field - assessing damage to roofs that are difficult for most people to get to. When Mr. Burcham had the opportunity to come to New York to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, he didn’t delay, even though that meant he would be missing his Tysabri Infusion - a therapy that he receives every 28 days to slow down the progression of MS.

“When I left Tennessee, I was already due for another treatment, but I wanted to get out here to help, and then I was so busy that I never made time to take care of myself,” he said.

After spending a month in New York helping others, Mr. Burcham called The Winthrop Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care Center. Dr. Gottesman and the Center’s Team worked to ensure that Mr. Burcham could promptly receive the necessary treatment.

“We were eager to do anything we could to help Mr. Burcham,” said Denise Cheng, RN, who was instrumental in coordinating Mr. Burcham’s treatment. “During the process, I was privileged to get to know Mr. Burcham - he is a remarkable man who lives his life to the fullest.”

From the very first time I met Dr. Gottesman, I felt confident that I was in good hands,” Mr. Burcham said. After receiving the infusion, Mr. Burcham immediately was able to travel to his next appointment assessing roof damage on Long Island homes.

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