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The Catalyst

Donation given to Heart & Vascular in honor of nanny

By Cindy Abole
Public Relations

Call it an act of love.

When Buist Academy student Maggie Berlin turned 12 years old, she chose a project that was close to her heart as she celebrated her bat mitzvah.

Maggie Berlin and her mom, Judith, present a check for $1,400 to MUSC President Dr. Ray Greenberg, second from left, and David Soutter of the Heart & Vascular Center.
Maggie Berlin and her mom, Judith, present a check for $1,400 to MUSC President Dr. Ray Greenberg, second from left, and David Soutter of the Heart & Vascular Center.

Three years earlier, she experienced the loss of her family’s nanny and caregiver, Laverne Wilder, who died suddenly of complications from a blood clot. The 65-year-old James Island native, who had a family history of blood clots, cared for Maggie and her sister, Helen, since they were toddlers. Maggie, now 13, has fond memories of Wilder reading, cooking meals and telling childhood stories.

“Ms. Laverne’s death was so shocking and a traumatic experience for me that I really couldn’t understand or grasp it. I knew nothing about blood clots and what they could do. So with the help of my mom, I started reading on my own to understand this condition,” said Maggie, who learned a lot about deep vein thrombosis, where a blood clot can block blood circulation to the lower legs, thighs or pelvis resulting in pain or swelling. If the clot breaks free and travels through the bloodstream, it can block a blood vessel in the leg resulting in a pulmonary embolism and sometimes death.

Laverne Wilder, Maggie Berlin's nanny, died suddenly of complications from a blood clot.
Laverne Wilder, Maggie Berlin's nanny, died suddenly of complications from a blood clot.

Learning that this was a condition that could be prevented and treated, Maggie wanted to raise money for research to benefit MUSC’s Heart & Vascular Center. She collaborated with her mom, Judith Berlin, and uncle, Michael Zervas, who works with Berlin’s Restaurant Supply in North Charleston, to establish a yard sale. Wanting to help in this effort, Zervas loaded two truckloads of surplus restaurant supply items – kitchenware, silverware and restaurant equipment – combining it with Maggie’s family’s yard sale donations of household appliances, toys, furniture and other items. They advertised on Craigslist, and Maggie created and posted yard-sale signs prior to the fall event. Neighbors and strangers came by to purchase items, donate to the fundraiser and support their efforts.

During the event, she collected $700, which was matched by Zervas for a total donation of $1,400. On June 25, Maggie and her mom visited MUSC’s campus to present their donation check to MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., and David Soutter, development director of the Heart & Vascular Center.

“It’s a great feeling to do something like this,” Maggie said. “I knew people in the community were always doing things to support causes like breast cancer and other diseases. I thought this was just as worthy a cause to invest in supporting research and awareness.”

Maggie plans to continue her living memoriam by conducting volunteer work with Wilder’s church, Mount Sinai Evangelistic Church in James Island.

July 9, 2013
 
 
 

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