Thursday, January 9, 2014

I didn't do it.. But I helped.

Letme start form the beginning.

This was posted to the Google Group of my running club.........

On Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 3:57 PM, Ami Hassler  wrote:
Hi All,

Methodist Hospital is looking to identify a runner who collapsed in Prospect Park on New Year's Eve.  The runner is in his mid-fifties, Caucasian and all he had on him was an inhaler.  If anyone thinks they might know this runner, please call Methodist Hospital.

A customer came into JackRabbit asking that I try and get the word out.


Sent from my iPhone

That's about it.  Ami works at a running shoe store and a guy walked in and said something like "Not for notin but there is a guy in the in The Intensive Care Unit, he was brought in with no ID, but maybe you can help us find his family.  That's mostly it.

Saturday our Google Group yaks back and forth about the media should be picking up on this and we start talking about how maybe someone should go see if he can be recognized.  That evening we get this report.
I went to Methodist Hospital today and looked at the unidentified runner who is in ICU. I did not recognize him. He has a light brown beard and mustache and is on the heavy side for a runner.  He is white and looks to be in his 50's.  They would not give any details to me other than to say he was running in the park sometime before New Year's Eve and was not carrying ID. Perhaps you guys want to go look at him. You can call the Admitting office at Methodist or just stop by and talk to security. Enter on 6th street near 7th avenue.
So I figured I could go there too. I was going to pass the hospital on my way to my kid's track meet so it was the least I could do.  I had my son sit in the comfy chairs in the lobby and went to the Candy Stripper at the Front Desk (Is Candy Stripper a derogatory term, I hope not.)  I told her I was the Vice President of the Prospect Park Track Club and that I might be able to identify the person with no ID.  She did not know what I was talking about but did know there was a John Doe in Room #$ of the Intensive Care Unit.  She just gave me a pass.  Just like that.

I repeated my story 2 more times and then was led to his room  That was easy.  I told the nurses that I did not know him.  Then my status changed from possible friend to unwelcome intruder.  I  was ushered out.

Then I went to the boy's meet and got back on the interweb.  At this point my teammates and I  were a little pissed off that it was just us trying to figure out who this guy is.  So we called in our connections.

Since I was the guy that actually look at the guy my teammates with media connections made me the point person.  I got emails and then calls from the Wall Street Journal and DNAinfo New York.  Our conversations were mostly the same.  They both asked me if I took a photo of the guy.  "What are you kidding, I felt like I was violating his privacy by being in the room with him.  It would have been super creepy to whip out my phone and take a photo.  Maybe I should have climbed into bed with him and take a selfie.

Here is my quote from the WSJ Article
"There is a mystery," said Michael Ring, 50, the vice president of the Prospect Park Track Club, who visited Methodist Hospital over the weekend but didn't recognize the man.  "We're all aware there's a guy in the hospital but nobody's missing a friend," added Mr. Ring, who has alerted his club's approximately 750 members.

and this from DNAinfo
At least three local runners have visited the nameless jogger to see if they recognized him, said Michael Ring, vice president of the Prospect Park Track Club. Ring went to the man's bedside in the intensive care unit on Sunday after hearing about the case from other runners. The man — who Ring described as "middle-aged, slightly overweight and balding" — didn't look familiar.Ring took a moment to speak to the man, who was unconscious and had a tube in his mouth. "I kind of awkwardly said to him, 'Sir I don't know you, but I hope you’re going to be OK.'"

They both used this photo that I did not take.

The Gothamist even picked up the story.

That was all Monday and Tuesday.

 Rynn Berry, the author of "The Vegan Guide to New York City," collapsed in Prospect Park on Dec. 31 during a job. He was in the hospital unconscious — and unidentified — until Jan. 7 when his half brother identified him.

Wednesday morning I checked my email and he was identified.
BROOKLYN — The mystery man who's been unconscious since collapsing in Prospect Park more than a week ago has been identified by a relative as Rynn Berry, a police source said.  Berry's half-brother Charles identified him at New York Methodist Hospital on Tuesday evening, the source said

Maybe I will get to meet Mr Berry again.  I hope so, and I really hope is is not in a coma this time.

But why did my track club have to get this started.  Should the police have been on this from Day One?  To me if really felt like the tail was wagging  the dog.

Why was my track club a source
An unidentified man in his 50s was found unconscious in Prospect Park on New Year's Eve wearing running attire, according to members of the Prospect Park Track Club.
  Or so says the San Francisco Gate
Police say his brother had come forward after media reports showed a photograph of the man in a hospital bed with various tubes attached to him

And now I am playing phone tag with The New York Times.  I will tap Publish yet. 

yea.  I might be in Friday's NYT.

Update 2 hours after I published

Adam Weissman

Very sad news. Rynn passed away at 12:30 today after going into cardiac arrest. He will be missed and remembered by many.
So, I emailed a link to the above comment to the reporter at The Times.  This was her kind response:
Yes, I eventually got on the phone with his brother, who told me that. It's really sad -- here we all were thinking everything would be all right at this point, and it turns out he'd basically been brain-dead since he was first admitted to the hospital.  The story had to turn into more of an obit, so I didn't get to use your little anecdote about visiting him -- sorry about that. But thanks again for your help..
and here it the New York Times Obit

For a few days, it seemed that the strange tale of the unidentified jogger who had lain unconscious in a Brooklyn hospital for a week after collapsing in Prospect Park on New Year’s Eve would end happily.

Known only as John Doe as he lay in the intensive-care unit at New York Methodist Hospital, he was the subject of puzzlement; his picture was shared on Twitter, Facebook and dozens of running-club email lists as the city’s runners joined forces to find his name and family.

When his half brother identified him this week as Rynn Berry, it was too late; he was taken off life support on Thursday. When emergency responders took Mr. Berry, carrying keys and an asthma inhaler but no identification, to the hospital at 1 p.m. on Dec. 31, he had already gone into cardiac arrest and he soon lost brain function.

“It’s a terribly sad circumstance,” said his half brother, Charles Berry, a partner at Arnold & Porter in Manhattan. “From what they tell me, there’s nothing that could’ve been done.”

Rynn Berry, 68, lived alone in an apartment in Prospect Heights and regularly ran in the park. His weeklong ordeal magnified, for many, a deep-seated urban fear: to be anonymous and in trouble in New York, surrounded by thousands of people yet unclaimed by a single one. For runners, his was a cautionary tale, a reminder never to jog without identification.

Despite his asthma, Mr. Berry was an enthusiastic amateur runner, once completing the New York City Marathon and telling one interviewer last year that he had just run a 10-K race in Brazil. He was also a highly respected figure in the vegetarian and vegan movements, standing week after week in the Union Square Greenmarket to sell his self-published “Vegan Guide to New York City” during the movement’s infancy.

“I’m in tiptop condition, physically and mentally,” a buoyant Mr. Berry, who started eating only raw food in 1994, told a vegan blog, New Vegan Age, in June 2013. He had also published several other books on the history of vegans and vegetarians. Many regarded him as an elder statesman of the movement, said Martin Rowe, a longtime friend.

“He’s always been a pioneer in that regard, writing about veganism when most people weren’t that interested in and didn’t know about it,” Mr. Rowe said.

None of this was known to the strangers who visited his hospital bed in hopes of seeing a familiar face or the reporters and runners who circulated his picture. His case was publicized in the news media, after the police asked for help identifying him, and among runners when a doctor at the hospital mentioned him to a staff member at JackRabbit Sports, a popular hub for runners in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

“It didn’t seem as though he was someone who was homeless,” said the doctor, a regular JackRabbit customer who asked not to be named because he was concerned he had violated privacy laws by speaking about Mr. Berry. “So you sort of get a sense of, ‘Gee, he belongs to somebody.’ ”

Before long, the social media among runners bloomed with a photograph of Mr. Berry, unconscious and laden with tubes. Even Mary Wittenberg, the chief executive of New York Road Runners, posted an article about him on Twitter.

A parallel search unfolded among those who knew Mr. Berry. His frequent collaborator reached out to relatives when he failed to arrive at a conference on vegetarianism in Brazil, where he was to be the keynote speaker. Then one of his neighbors, seeing his photograph on the news, contacted the police.

Mr. Berry first disavowed meat as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, when he learned that animals experienced adrenaline surges before being killed, he told New Vegan Age. In a 2001 interview with The New York Times, Mr. Berry said he found that eating only raw foods increased his energy.

He often proudly pointed out the many historical figures who had been vegetarian, and in recent years, Mr. Rowe recalled, had watched in awe as his two passions merged in the form of prominent vegan runners.
A version of this article appears in print on January 10, 2014, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Jogger Found Unconscious in a Park Dies, but Not Before Being Identified.  

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