Abe Bernstein Man Of All Seasons



written by June Viverito

Financial wizard, skier extraordinaire, senior running champion, cancer survivor, and horticulturist. What is it that Abe Bernstein can’t do? The answer continues to elude us.
Abe is a proud son of Oyster Bay—rare village that celebrates past and present with equal fervor. Abe and his wife, Adrienne, met at Hofstra University in 1959 and were married in 1960. They moved to Munsey Park in 1978 and have lived there for the past 37 years. Both their children, Lorin and Andrea, graduated from Manhasset High School.
Bernstein has run 12 New York City marathons. His best time was 3:07 (but Bernstein insists that his age-graded time was 2:59!). At 60, he decided that marathons were just too long. Over the years he has run (and won) everything imaginable—half marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks and everything in between.
In addition to his running, he is an avid skier. He won the Utah Coca-Cola Cup three times in the giant slalom. He has heli-skied in Europe and British Columbia, and has made many first descents through virgin untracked powder on mountains that were never skied before.
In 2000, he retired from long distance running, except for a 5K here and there. He has turned his full attention to track meets. He currently holds the U.S. Track & Field (USATF), Long Island records for 75- to 79-year-old males in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m. He was second in the 2014 indoor National USATF Championships in the 400m and 200m, both of which resulted in Long Island indoor records.
Unfortunately, at age 64 Bernstein came down with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), the most prevalent leukemia in the world for older men and women. He was treated twice with a drug called Retuxan and with chemotherapy after falling out of remission in 2005 and 2012.
On Jan. 26, 2013, after the return of the disease, he was told that chemotherapy was out of the question and was given 6 to 12 months to live. Three days later, on Jan. 28, 2013 he entered a Federal Drug trial for the drug Imbruvica, which turned into a wonder drug for him. Taking three pills once a day, his liquid tumors disappeared in 10 days. His blood returned to normal 30 days later. With permission from his hematologist, Dr. Kanti Rai, he was allowed to go back to running and training. On a lark, he decided to enter the Penn Relays, the oldest and biggest track meet in the USA.
The date was April 28, 2013, which was exactly 90 days from the end of treatment. On NBC live television, in front of more than 50,000 spectators, he took third-place in the 100m, running against the top 75+ runners in America.
He was USA track and field runner of the year in 2009 and 2013. Bernstein won the Canadian National Championship in 2009 and 2010 in the 400m and 800m. In 2015, he was New England champion in the 200m and 400m and LI champion in the 100m and 200m. In 2014, he was awarded the prestigious All-American award as a top 10 runner in the United States in the 200m, 400m and 800m.
And in the most important race of his life, his oncologist reveled that Bernstein’s blood was normal. No wonder his recent stress test revealed results of a 19-year-old!
Bernstein has a marvelous tenor voice which he uses to sing Irish songs at the annual St. Patrick’s Day party.
Now that’s a man for all seasons.

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