True Love Found Through Helping Humanity, Together

By Jim Luce with Mitzi Perdue.

Name a person who wouldn’t like to find true love and a soul mate? Lorraine Silvetz nee Cancro and her new husband, Dr. Robert Silvetz are among the lucky ones who’ve done just that, but who could have guessed what it took for them to find each other?

True Love Found Through Helping Humanity, Together.  Lorraine Cancro Silvetz, MSW,
poses outside Oheka Castle with her new husband, Robert Silvetz, M.D. Photo: Chuck Baker.

When Lorraine Cancro, Executive Director of the Global Stress Initiative (GSI), started out on her journey, in 2010, to raise awareness and implement research for veterans and their families suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) she had no idea that part of this journey would lead to romance.  Her goal, and also the goal of her two colleagues — her uncle, Robert Cancro, M.D. and their spokesperson, three-time Emmy Award-winning anchor and best-selling author, Rita Cosby — was to find ways of treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder without medication. Through the years they found many interventions to help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD but not until 2013 did she find the ultimate intervention, discovered by the Brain Treatment Center (BTC) in California. Her colleague, Eilhys England Hackworth co-Founder with the late Colonel David Hackworth of Stand for the Troops (SFTT), knew about the organization and introduced her to it almost a year ago today.

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Bridesmaids Susan Cancro Brown, Cristina Carr, and Emma Brown with the bride and groom,
posing with Kelly Ho, Julian Silvetz, Blythe Silvetz, Rebecca Rosignoli, and C.J. Ho. Photo: Chuck Baker.

When she flew to Newport Beach to investigate the successes of the BTC, something life changing occurred.  Not only did she find the non-pharmacologic intervention she was looking for, but she also found the man of her dreams, Chief Scientific Officer of the Brain Treatment Center, Robert D. Silvetz, M.D. It was a swift courtship. Within 24 hours of their first date, December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, they were discussing marriage, and they were engaged in less than a month.  It sounds fast but as Lorraine will tell you, “You know when you go shopping but you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for but then you see it and say, “That’s it”?  That’s what it was like.” She also added, “When you get it wrong enough times you know when it is right!”  Her new husband agrees.

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Photo: Chuck Baker.

Robert Silvetz’s proposal to his soon-to-be fiancée was an interesting one.  Robert started discussing where they would be married within a day of their first date.  Robert said he wanted to marry in a the church where his parents were married in Rome, Santa Susanna, and after a few weeks Lorraine burst in with, “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. He told her later that he had been a little afraid to ask so just assumed that the sale had been made.  They both said there was no need to waste time – when you know you know. In short order, the couple set the date for August 14th, and began inviting their colleagues, family and friends to celebrate the launch of their life together. The wedding took place at Saint Pius X Church in Plainview, New York and the reception was at nearby Oheka Castle in Huntington. The bride’s form-fitting strapless Oleg Cassini white satin dress featured a three and half foot train, with hand embroidered insets of lace beading and buttons from the top to end of the dress.

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Parents of the groom, Anna and Dr. Robert M. Silvetz, with their son and new daughter-in-law Lorraine Silvetz.
Photo: Chuck Baker.

The Maid of Honor, Lorraine’s sister, Barbara Cancro Carr and three Bridesmaids, Lorraine’s sister, Susan Cancro Brown, and her nieces, Emma Brown and Cristina Carr wore peacock satin strapless gowns, the five flower girls, Kelly and Jennifer Ho, Sophie Hantar, Rebecca Rosignoli and Blythe Silvetz each wore white satin and tulle dresses with peacock sashes. The officiant, the Reverend Valentine Rebello, mingled reverence, awe, and spirituality, with humanity and warmth. Few will forget the congregation’s delight when the two ring bearers, C.J. Ho and Julian Silvetz, after proceeding down the aisles, greeted Reverend Rebello with knuckle bumps.

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Beaming bride Lorraine Silvetz with Emma Brown, Cristina Carr, Susan Cancro Brown,
and Barbara Cancro Carr. Photo: Chuck Baker.

Colleagues and friends who attended the wedding came from as far as Italy and Taiwan. Dr. Yi Jin, Founder of the Brain Treatment Center along with his entire team were present for the couple’s special day including BTC C.E.O. Conway Ho.  Scientists were present including Robert Cancro, M.D., Chairman Emeritus of N.Y.U.’s Department of Psychiatry; Robert Isenhart, Ph.D.; Leslie Prichep, Ph.D.; Judy Kuriansky, Ph.D.; Ralph DePalo, Ph.D.; Carol Cancro, M.D.; Charlie Knezevich, Ph.D.; Michael O’Hagan, Ph.D., among others including the groom’s father, Robert M. Silvetz, M.D. For those familiar with the mental health field, the attendees represent a who’s who of the New York establishment.  Always seeking the forefront of knowledge, Lorraine brought them into contact with the Brain Treatment Center.  The BTC is a unique combination of engineers, physicists and doctors.  Under the leadership of Dr. Jin, two novel therapies are now entering clinical trial.  One therapy targets PTSD, the other therapy targets autism.  Both therapies have great potential to alleviate the extreme suffering imposed by PTSD or autism and restore considerable quality of life to millions of patients.  New York will lead the way again in implementing these therapies once the clinical trials are completed.

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Andrew Carr, Cristina Carr, Susan Cancro Brown, Emma Brown, Luise Cancro, LauraMarie Cancro,
Larry Cancro, Marcella Cancro, Lorraine Silvetz, Robert Silvetz, Barbara Cancro Carr. 
Photo: Chuck Baker.

The BTC recently treated over sixty veterans with severe PTSD free of charge.  Many of these veterans also had other comorbidities, from traumatic brain injuries to substance abuse, that complicated their PTSD condition.  In an unprecedented outcome, each of the veterans improved dramatically from their PTSD.  Armed with this exciting data, the BTC is waiting on imminent approval to conduct a study in San Diego. Forty-eight veterans will go thru a double-blind clinical trial followed by an open label trial where during the latter, all veterans will receive treatment.  This trial will begin this month and run through February 2015 (No veteran will be charged for any service provided during the trial, and their data will be kept confidential in keeping with the highest ethical standards, Federal and State law).

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Friends and family in attendance included Fabrizio D’Allessio, Cristina Silvetz, the wedding couple,
John Silvetz, and Deon Silvetz. 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 at 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; C.E.O. of Brain Treatment Center (BTC), Conway Ho; and Richard Anthony of BGC Partners, among others. TV personalities and entertainers including the wonderful Rita Cosby; singer, songwriter, producer Tomaczek Bednarek; and newcomer/singer, Cheyenne Elliott.  Writers included Synesthesia expert and author, Maureen Seaberg and award-winning March of Dimes blogger, Barbara Cancro Carr, therapist/writer Nan O’Brien; and philanthropists Eilhys England Hackworth, Sara Herbert Galloway, Errol Rappaport, Barbara and David Bender, Roberta Lowenstein, Terry Watkins, NancyJane Loewy, myself, and many more.

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Friends Sara Herbert Galloway, Roberta Lowenstein, Patrick Condrun,
Rita Cosby, Tomaczek Bednarek, and Nan O’Brien. 
Photo: Chuck Baker.

The reception at Oheka Castle dazzled the guests.  Oheka Castle was part of the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s the Great Gatsby and it is the second largest private home in the U.S., with 127 rooms and over 109,000 square feet.

Luce Leader nominee Alana Galloway with Sara Herbert-Galloway, the bride and the author.
Photo: Chuck Baker.

Guests danced that evening to the ten-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, rendition of At Last. In addition, Tomaczek Bednarek created and performed a beautiful guitar solo in honor of the new couple. The Silvetzes left the next day for their honeymoon cruise to New England and Canada. On their return to California, they will continue their joint work in helping alleviate the suffering of those experiencing PTSD, using techniques that don’t require pharmacological intervention.

Originally published in The Huffington Post, Oct. 13, 2014.

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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About Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens

View all posts by Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce ( writes and speaks on Thought Leaders and Global Citizens. Bringing 26 years management experience within both investment banking and the non-profit sector, Jim has worked for Daiwa Bank, Merrill Lynch, a spin-off of Lazard Freres, and two not-for profit organizations and a foundation he founded. As Founder & CEO of Orphans International Worldwide (, he is working with a strong network of committed professionals to build interfaith, interracial, Internet-connected orphanages in Haiti and Indonesia, and creating a new, family-care model for orphans in Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

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