A Lasting Impression of Fast Cars and Freedom
While being treated at the Valerie Fund Children’s Center at Goryeb Children’s Hospital, Cristina Commerato talked about her love of race cars all the time. Next thing she knew, she was cruising in a Porsche 911 with Rick Goryeb.
“When Mr. Goryeb found out how much I loved cars, he called my dad to see if my sister and I wanted to go for a ride,” the 21-year old lymphoma survivor, said. “All I could think of was: I am so in.”
The threesome started out at High Marques Motor Cars, in Morristown. Commerato was prompted by Rick Goryeb and his friend, John Vogt the shop’s owner, to sit in one of the showroom’s cars, and they strapped her in.
“Mr. Goryeb was so willing to ensure I had a good time,” Commerato said. “It’s not like he does this all the time as a formal program. It was just for me, it was unreal.”
Making someone else’s day special — especially when it comes to kids — comes naturally for this Foundation for Morristown Medical Center trustee, who, along with siblings Joe and Lynne, recently gave a lead gift to the Growing Forward Campaign to help with expansion efforts at Goryeb. Rick Goryeb’s wife, Leslie, also has a heart for helping children. One of her initiatives is building support networks for pediatric behavioral health issues, such as suicide, with Goryeb Children’s Hospital and the community. Her love for the hospital is analogous with her husband’s dedication.
The Goryeb clan’s involvement began in 1997 when Joe and Marguerite Goryeb, along with their children Rick, Joe and Lynne, provided the seed money to launch the children’s hospital. Years later, Rick Goryeb began volunteering as a trustee and came on board the Goryeb Philanthropy Council (GPC).
In 2016, he stepped up to co-chair the council alongside Gaines Mimms, MD, a neonatologist at Goryeb. Spearheading the construction of a new Child Development and Autism Center, seeding funding for a Child Life specialist position and providing funding for equipment including the Fibroscan®, are some of the recent milestones the GPC has accomplished. Gerri Kling, a major gift officer at the Foundation, keeps the group rolling along.
“Without her, there wouldn’t be a GPC,” Goryeb said. “Gerri deserves a lot of the credit for doing all of the behind-the-scenes work.”
In addition to his leadership role at the hospital, racing cars also gets onto his to-do list. Goryeb reminisced about the time he brought his race car to the hospital. He pulled up in a Mazda Miata and handed over a marker to a crowd of antsy pediatric patients, letting them sign the hood.
“Rick has a big heart,” Kristin Holtzman, CCLS, Goryeb Child Life specialist, said. “The children forgot for a moment why they were in the hospital.”
Being there for others is something that Rick Goryeb learned from his dad.
“He was always positive and sincere,” Goryeb said. “When you met my dad, people said you felt he truly cared about the moment he was in with you.”
Learn more about how you can support vital care for our pediatric patients through the Growing Forward campaign.