Nov 13, 2011 Amanda Wada Uncategorized
While battling Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Allen Krassembaum became close with staff at Crouse Hospital where he was receiving care. In fact, the family was so familiar with the Hospital, they began jokingly calling themselves the “Crousembaums.”
“I really believe that because of the level of care that he got, particularly from the nurses, the amount that they cared about him and helped him and were there just emotionally and selfless for him – from getting him everything from chicken soup to popsicles, to waiting on him to making him feel comfortable, to having conversations with him – was really amazing,” said Adam Kassen, Allen’s son. “I had never seen that level of care and it just made his stay and the amount of pain he was in that much more comfortable.”
Many of those conversations were centered on Allen’s sons, Adam and Mark Kassen, and their movie, “Puncture.” In the opening scene of the movie, Vanessa Shaw plays a nurse who gets stuck by a needle. The movie then follows the story of two lawyers, played by Chris Evans and Mark Kassen, who expose a pharmaceutical conspiracy around needle safety.
“One of the central issues was about nurses and care in hospitals, so it was a nice topical string to the conversation about safety and nurses,” Adam Kassen said.
Four days before his death on Sept. 14, 2011, Allen Krassembaum, his wife, two sons and about 20 of his closest friends crowded into a special room at Crouse Hospital that the hospital staff had converted into a screening room. It was the very first screening of the movie “Puncture,” directed by his sons, Mark and Adam Kassen.
On Sunday, Nov. 20, Mark and Adam Kassen, bring their movie, back to Syracuse for its official premiere at the Palace Theater to benefit the oncology unit at Crouse Hospital. A question and answer session will be held with Mark and Adam after the movie. Mark and Adam graduated from Fayetteville-Manlius High School in 1989 and 1992, respectively.
The nursing staff at Crouse Hospital, together with Allen Krassembaum’s wife, Karen, will decide how to spend the proceeds from the event.
“We were talking about the fundraiser even then, and I asked the nurses, ‘what would you guys want for this floor?’ One of the nurses said, ‘I think it’d be nice to have a deck. A lot of these people spend the last few weeks of their life sitting in the hospital and they can’t go outside, it would be nice to take them outside,’” Adam Kassen recalled. “It was completely selfless. They wanted to improve the quality of life, not improve the situation for themselves.
“You hear a lot about research and curing cancer, which is great. But you don’t hear as much about patient care, which is so important. If you can do something to make their life a little bit more comfortable in the last days of their life, that’s an important and valuable thing to do. And those guys at Crouse, there is no better example of people who try to do that every day.”
The “Puncture” premiere starts at 5:45 p.m., Sunday; doors open to the general public at 5:15, with a silent auction before the film. General tickets are $50, VIP tickets are $100 and can be purchased through Crouse Hospital by calling Phyllis Devlin at 470-7008.