True Love at Last: The Cancro-Silvetz Wedding

By Mitzi Perdue, edited by Jim Luce.

Huntington, N.Y.  Lorraine Silvetz, formerly Lorraine Cancro, didn’t use Match.com or another Internet dating site to find the love of her life. Instead, she found her husband and soul mate when she was looking for something entirely different, the quest to help relieve the suffering of those experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

Lorraine is the Executive Director of the Global Stress Initiative (GSI).  This respected organization seeks to diagnose, treat, and prevent PTSD.  It also raises awareness not only for those suffering from the condition but also their families. The problem is a significant one. As GSI’s Medical Director, Dr. Robert Cancro, points out, “Twenty million American adults live with an anxiety disorder that is chronic, painful, and can become progressively worse.”

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

Lorraine and her GSI colleagues had a prime goal to find help for individuals with PTSD that does not include prescribing additional medications. The GSI team knows all too well that people with PTSD became dependent on the drugs involved in their therapy. The individuals taking PTSD medications may also find themselves experiencing a host of unwelcome side effects such as inability to sleep or suicidal urges.

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

Through the years, Lorraine and her colleagues found many ways to help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, but not until 2013 did she find the ultimate intervention. When her colleague and friend, Eilhys England Hackworth, told her about the Brain Treatment Center (BTC) and its tremendous success using non-drug interventions. Cancro decided to visit BTC at its headquarters in Newport Beach, California.  Eilhys, Lorraine knows, co-founded Stand for the Troops (SFT) with her late husband Colonel David Hackworth.

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

For Lorraine, the visit was life changing, not only professionally but also personally. While there, she met the Chief Scientific Officer, Robert D. Silvetz, M.D.  The two shared the happy experience of not only caring about PTSD, they also discovering how much they cared about each other. 

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

It was a swift courtship. Within 24 hours of their December 7th date, they found themselves discussing marriage.  In fact, when Bob Silvetz spoke with Eilhys the following day, she knew from the excitement in his voice that he had found the one.  Certain of what she felt she was hearing, Eilhys asked him when they were getting married.  She even suggested a wedding ceremony at her (Connecticut?) home where he was staying while visiting the East Coast.

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

Bob swiftly responded that he wanted to get married at the Church of Santa Susanna in Rome where his parents were married and where he had his (first?) communion and confirmation. Eilhys immediately shared this with Lorraine who in turn told her own mother.

PHOTO with MITZI

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Caption. Photo: Sara Herbert-Galloway.

Lorraine’s mother, of Italian descent, said not only did she know of this church but also that she had a painting of it on the wall above her bed. With over 1,000 churches in Rome, the coincidence of Lorraine’s mother having a painting of Santa Susanna was incredible – a powerful sign, they felt.

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

For a month, the couple was discussing marrying at Santa Susanna. Bob popped the question when Lorraine finally said, “You keep telling me where you want to get married. Don’t you think you should ask me first?” He answered, “Now?”  She said, “Sure, why not?” He then asked and she swiftly answered yes. They both said there was no need to waste time – when you know you know.

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

When they discovered it required two years and much paperwork to get married in Italy, they opted to exchange vows at St. Pius Church in Huntington, New York instead. The couple invited their colleagues, family and friends to their reception at Oheka Castle near the church to celebrate the launch of their life together.

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

The wedding took place recently, and people came from as far as Taiwan for the celebration.  Dr. Yi Jin, Founder of the Brain Treatment Center, along with members of his team were present for the couple’s special day. Research scientists in the field of mental health were present including Robert Cancro, M.D., Chairman Emeritus of N.Y.U.’s Department of Psychiatry; Robert M. Silvetz, M.D.; Robert Isenhart, Ph.D.; Ralph DePalo, Ph.D.; Leslie Prichep, Ph.D.; and Judy Kuriansky, Ph.D.

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

Business people and entrepreneurs from around the world attended including J.J. Han, International Business Director of BTC; Kevin McGovern, Chairman of the Water Initiative; John Silvetz of Blue Crest Capital Management, LLP; Jeffrey Loewy, President of Tirschwell and Loewy, Inc.; Larry Cancro, Senior V.P. of Fenway Affairs for the Boston Red Sox; Barry Klarberg, Founder and C.E.O. of Monarch Business and Wealth Management; managing partners of Dragon Deeds Capital, Eilhys England Hackworth and Keith Buckler, among others.

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

TV personalities and entertainers including three-time Emmy Award winning anchor and best-selling author, Rita Cosby; singer/producer Tomaczek Bednarek; newcomer singer, Cheyenne Elliott; and musician/teacher Susan Cancro Brown.

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

Writers including Synesthesia expert and author Maureen Seaberg, award-winning March of Dimes blogger Barbara Carr, and therapist/author Nan O’Brien. Philanthropists included Sara Herbert Galloway, Barbara and David Bender, Errol Rappaport, Roberta Lowenstein, NancyJane Loewy, Jim Luce, and many more.

 

 

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

 

The reception at Oheka Castle dazzled the guests, many of whom called it the best wedding ever.  Oheka Castle helped inspire F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.  An amazing mansion, it is the second largest private home in the U.S. with 127 rooms and over 109,000 square feet.

 

 

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

 

Guests danced that evening to the eight-piece band, Billy and the Showmen, and were entertained by soon-to-be-launched singer, Cheyenne Elliott – granddaughter of Dionne Warwick and cousin of Whitney Houston.  Cheyenne performed a beautiful rendition of At Last. In addition, Tomaczek Bednarek created and performed a haunting guitar solo in honor of the happy new couple.

 

 

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

 

The Silvetzes left the next day for their honeymoon cruise to New England and Canada. On their return to California, they will continue their work to help alleviate the suffering of those experiencing PTSD, using techniques that don’t require pharmacological intervention.  Two good people united in a common bond of helping humanity.

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Caption. Photo: Chuck Baker.

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Mitzi Perdue
Mitzi Perdue is the widow of the late Frank Perdue. Her biography of him is coming out this November. She writes the blog for the Academy of Women's Health.

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