We make the DREAM of summer camp a reality for kids with kidney disorders.

And camp changes their lives forever.

Ruth Gottscho was 15 years old when she died of kidney disease in 1960 – before dialysis or transplantation was widely available. That same year, her parents, Eva and Ira, founded the Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation (RGKF) to help other New Jersey kidney patients. For several years, the RGKF helped purchase home dialysis machines for families who could not afford this life-saving equipment. It also provided other services and equipment to New Jersey kidney patients.

In 1973, when Medicare began paying for much of the treatment kidney patients needed, the RGKF focused on finding a way to help children with kidney disorders attend summer camp – a dream of Ruth’s that wasn’t possible during her lifetime.

Eva Gottscho (Ira had died in 1971), was determined to find a camp that would be willing to support her idea of integrating kidney kids with regular campers. She approached a number of camps but was turned down repeatedly. Then she and several board members met with the Frost Valley YMCA camp. Its CEO and board of trustees thought it was a terrific idea! With the help of the foundation and equipment donations from dialysis machine manufacturers, the camp established a dialysis center, and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore enthusiastically agreed to staff it. To date, the foundation has paid medical and camp expenses for more than 1,800 kidney campers.

Eva died in 2009, but her legacy remains very much alive. Judy Gottscho Eichinger, Eva’s daughter and Ruth’s sister, is at the helm of the foundation.  The Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation is now a charitable fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey (CFNJ).  We are benefiting from the Community Foundation’s philanthropic expertise, administrative support, and technical know-how to ensure your donation has the greatest possible impact.  Judy and other long-time supporters have formed an advisory committee at CFNJ to make sure Ruth’s dream of sleep-away camp remains a reality for children with kidney disorders.  

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Ruth Gottscho
1945-1960

Advisory Committee

Judith Gottscho Eichinger, Chairperson

Judy was Ruth Gottscho’s sister. Her parents, Eva and Ira, began The Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation to help others who suffered from kidney disorders. Judy served on the foundation board before becoming the organization’s chair in 2009 after Eva Gottscho died.

Judy received her B.A. from Penn State University and worked for many years as a writer of corporate communications before switching to the non-profit field. The last ten years of her professional career were spent conducting month-long job-search, job-readiness workshops at the Bergen One-Stop Career Center in Hackensack, NJ.

Robert Schachter, President/Treasurer

Happily retired from the corporate world, Bob has known the Gottscho family and has been involved with the foundation since the late ‘60s. “I never cease to be amazed by the life-changing effects the camp program has on our ‘kidney kids’ who arrive at camp often overprotected and shy, and discover a new lease on life through the camp program. They leave camp with a new self-confidence and a new sense of their potential.”

Bob received a Masters Degree in Business from Seton Hall and worked for over 50 years in Human Resources and Business Management, specifically in Engineering Services.

Roslyn Barbarosh Brendzel, Vice President

Roslyn is a retired award-winning broadcast journalist. She was a writer/producer at Bloomberg Radio and WCBS Newsradio 880. Before that she was a reporter and editor with The Associated Press and The Record newspaper. She also wrote for The New York Times.

A classmate of Ruth Gottscho from kindergarten, Roslyn promised Eva Gottscho that she would join the board of The Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation when she retired, and she did.

Leilani Viney, Secretary

Leilani has been an advocate for healthy living and children almost her whole life. While not a grade school friend of Ruth Gottscho, Leilani remembers getting to know her in their chorus class in Millburn Junior High School. Leilani fondly remembers finding out Ruth was a sweet person. That was shortly before Ruth passed away in 1960.

Years later, while working as a renal dietitian at the Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Leilani was asked to oversee the meal plans for a new program for kidney patients who were going to camp. This program, the first ever in the country for kids on dialysis, began in conjunction with the foundation’s kidney camp program. Leilani’s tie to Ruth surfaced again when, after retiring from her career in dietetics and still living in Millburn, she was invited to join the Board of Directors of the foundation.

Shawn Blagmon

Coming from Westchester and being a part of a non-profit, Shawn loves seeing all of the kidney camp program participants reach their full potential. Shawn graduated from Hunter College, where he studied film and media with a concentration in journalism.  Shawn manages his own website which centers around menswear, music, and art.

Shawn grew up at camp and was a recipient of The Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation services. It is his distinct pleasure to return as an adult to give children with kidney disorders the same great things he received.

Dr. Kim Reidy

Dr. Reidy is Assistant Professor, Pediatric Nephrology, at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has been a primary doctor in delivering exceptional care to our participants at Frost Valley YMCA during the summer, donating her time for one week each summer as the pediatric nephrologist in the Ruth Gottscho Dialysis Center on site.

Kim graduated from Princeton University and received her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Reidy’s primary area of research is human glomerular disease.

Dr. Yehuda (Lew) Reisman

Dr. Reisman received his medical degree from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem—Hadassah Medical School, and trained at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.  After training, Dr. Reisman has practiced pediatric nephrology for over 35 years. While practicing in New York in the late seventies, Dr. Reisman met Dr. Ira Greifer— then the Medical Director of the Children’s Kidney Center at Albert Einstein Hospital of Medicine (now Montefiore). Dr. Greifer became Lew’s mentor and invited him to serve as one of the doctors staffing the fledgling kidney camp program at Frost Valley. He did and has donated his time as the pediatric nephrologist at camp whenever his schedule permits.

Janeen Sharp

Janeen has been involved in marketing, sales support and customer service for the majority of her career. She has a Master’s degree in English from Rutgers University (N.J.) and recently received a Certificate in Catholic Evangelization from Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University (N.J.).

Her son, Daniel, is a former participant in our kidney camp program with Frost Valley and will soon be heading off to college. Janeen has been on the board of the foundation since 2015, happily giving back for the incredible experience made available for Daniel. She is also involved with many ministries at St. Matthew the Apostle Church, in Randolph, NJ.

Ellynn Decter Szoke

As a market development professional, Ellynn provides strategic plans to increase market receptivity and drive early adoption and sustainable revenue.  She began her career at Johnson and Johnson Baby Products Company and owned a marketing and communications firm. She was then was hired by a client to build a marketing and communications department, serving as Vice President.

Ellynn is a member of the CMO Council, BioNJ, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, the Health Institute of N.J., and is a co-founder of the New Jersey Rare Disease Alliance.  She currently is a mentor to Tiger Labs and an adviser to Telehealth and Medicine Today.  She previously served on the board of the Cluster Headache Support Group.

Dr. Shefali Vyas

Prior to joining Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Dr. Vyas served as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at New York Medical College and was a staff pediatric nephrologist at Westchester Medical Center. She has extensive experience in pediatric medicine and research. After receiving her medical degree at Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda, India, she completed a pediatric residency and pediatric nephrology fellowship at SUNY Health Science Center-Downstate University Hospital of Brooklyn. She also served as a research fellow at Cornell University. Dr. Vyas is board certified in both pediatrics and pediatric nephrology. She donates one week of her time each summer to serve as the pediatric nephrologist in charge of the Ruth Gottscho Dialysis Center at Frost Valley.

Dennis C. Walter

Dennis has been active with The Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation since 1985 and has served as President, Vice-President, and Treasurer during his tenure. He is a graduate of Montclair State University (N.J.), and spent six years in the field of public secondary school business education. Dennis is currently the CFO for a long-time, well-respected manufacturer of packaging machinery in the New York Metropolitan Area. Throughout his career he has been affiliated with numerous professional, civic and religious organizations.

Dr. Steven Weisbart

Dr. Weisbart joined The Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation in 2015  after being associated with the Foundation for several years through his family.  He brings several years of fiduciary expertise to the board, having received his Ph.D. in Applied Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Once an associate professor at Georgia State University, College of Business, he is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for the Insurance Information Institute.  Dr. Weisbart has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, CNBC, Fox Business Channel, 60 Minutes, and various other NPR and local stations.

Albert Wickens – Emeritus

Al served as a Catholic clergyman from 1955-1974. He later became the Community Relations Manager at Mutual Benefit (Newark, N.J.) from 1975-1990, representing the company in Newark and Essex County. Al provided financial assistance and management guidance to nonprofit groups in various activities: Health, education, returning inmates, the arts, and neighborhood development. He served as Chairman of the Advisory Council on Corrections in New Jersey from 1993 to 2003. Al is one of the founding board members for The Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation, proudly helping adults and children with kidney disorders for over 60 years.