“So why do I run, you ask? I run to say thank you to a man who drove, flew, walked, and ran to every event in my life. I run to say thank you to the doctors who gave me extra time with him. I run to let my family know that I will go to any lengths for them, as Poppy did for us. I run so other families can spend more time with their loved ones. And I run because I would give anything to have one more minute.”
Nana and Poppy's Endless Love
Gregory Tanenbaum is an all-star supporter of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. His successful volunteer fundraising has raised over $76,000 for the Hospital since 2018. As is the case with many of our volunteer fundraisers, Greg’s passionate support of NewYork-Presbyterian started with a personal experience with the Hospital.
Growing up, Greg could not have imagined life without his grandfather, Ira R. Schattman, Jr., affectionately called “Poppy.” “We spoke almost every day,” Greg said. “I honestly do not recall any event, big or small, where my Poppy and Nana weren’t present. They are truly every child’s dream to have as grandparents. I am the oldest of their 16 grandchildren, and they spoil each of us with their presence and endless love. My Poppy and Nana instantly became favorites among every group of friends, every group of parents, and every sports team I was ever a part of.”
In 2016, Greg and his family were devastated to learn Poppy was diagnosed with acute leukemia and given an estimated 48 hours to live. Upon receiving the heartbreaking news, their grandfather immediately entered into the care of Gail Roboz, MD, an attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Professor of Medicine and Director of the Clinical and Translational Leukemia Program at Weill Cornell Medicine. Under Dr. Roboz’s expert care, Poppy’s 48 hours turned into 15 months of quality time with his family.
In March 2018, the Tanenbaum family lost their beloved Poppy. While the family is deeply saddened by the loss, they are also grateful for the extra time they were able to spend with the man they loved. “Those 48 hours turned into 15 months of new adventures, experiences, and conversations that I will never forget,” Greg said. “In that time, we went up to Hanover, New Hampshire, for Poppy’s 62nd Dartmouth Homecoming; he came to every one of my men’s league baseball games; he pulled me up on water skis; and we shared many meaningful laughs and conversations.”
Logging Miles in Poppy's Honor
In 2018, Greg ran the “NYC Marathon 4 Poppy” in New York, raising over $27,000 in support of Dr. Roboz and NewYork-Presbyterian’s Leukemia Fighters clinical research program. But he didn’t stop there. In 2020, a week before the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced in the United States, Greg went on to run the “LA Marathon 4 Poppy,” raising over $17,000 to support leukemia patients. This November, Greg once again trained and ran 26.2 miles in the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon, raising more than $32,000 to support Dr. Roboz and Leukemia Fighters. “Only someone as special as Poppy could generate that kind of love and support,” Greg said. “He showed up for me in every way over our 27 years together, and it is a great honor to run in his memory.”
“Life has gone on without Poppy, but not a day goes by where I don’t think about him,” Greg said. “He was my biggest supporter, fan, and friend. Poppy lit up every room that he was in and made us all feel good about ourselves. My wife, Kelly, and I got married this year, and we would have loved nothing more than for Poppy to be at our wedding celebrating with us, to meet our future children, and to take us skiing again. Since that is not an option, I run so that other families can have more time with their loved ones who suffer from this disease. In Poppy’s honor, I hope other families can gain extra time with their loved ones.”
All of us at NewYork-Presbyterian thank Greg for his outstanding commitment to our leukemia patients. If you would like to learn more about setting up a fundraiser in memory or in honor of a loved one, please visit give.nyp.org/teamraiser.