DELMAR — Bart Groudine-Goldstein was a bright light in the Delmar community. With his passing, the light has dimmed, but only slightly.
Bart died suddenly on Nov. 27 and his friends and family celebrated his life at Real McCoy Brewery on Saturday, Dec. 10. As part of the celebration, a fundraiser for The Brain Alternative Rehabilitation Therapies [BART] foundation was held. $3,800 was raised in honor of Bart.
When he was 16, Bart was in a severe car accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury [TBI]. From that moment, twenty-one years ago, Bart’s parents had to relearn their son while Bart was relearning everything.
Joel Goldstein, Bart’s father, remembers that through everything, hope was a significant factor.
“Bart had a lot of hope,” Joel said. “He gave a lot of hope.”
At the beginning of Bart’s recovery, doctors told Joel and his wife, Dayle, that it would be better if Bart were institutionalized. However, Joel and Dayle pushed for Bart’s independence. Through research and looking past doctors’ answers, the start of Bart’s new life began.
Bart began alternative therapies that went beyond traditional mainstream medicine. One of the game changers for Bart was Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, also known as HBOT. HBOT was originally used by divers suffering from the bends.
“It made a huge difference in Bart’s life,” Joel said. “In four or five treatments, he could stay awake for the full school day. We couldn’t believe it.”
As Bart progressed greatly with alternative therapy, the BART foundation was created in 2012. The foundation focuses on highlighting and advocating safe alternative therapies for families and individuals facing TBIs. The foundation board comprises survivors, family members of survivors, healthcare professionals and physicians, lawyers, and academics.
The largest group to suffer from TBIs or acquired brain injuries [ABIs] are young people under the age of 45. The second largest group suffering brain injuries is senior citizens. Although these age groups are the largest sufferers, one community suffers the most from ABIs; military veterans.
“The cost to society of traumatic brain injury or acquired brain injury is substantially greater than cancer– it’s the number one,” Joel said.
In most Western countries, especially the United States, alternative therapies are just that; alternative, taboo, and often not recommended. Many factors play into why these doctors won’t recommend these therapies and have gatekept them from standard treatment. Whereas in countries like Israel, HBOT is standard practice. Due to this, it leaves many families, and often parents, frustrated and not knowing where to turn to help their family member.
In most cases, it’s difficult to even find the resources for therapy. This is where the BART foundation hopes to lend support. The foundation’s website lists resources for centers and therapies across the country. All with the hope that something will work.
Although HBOT worked wonders for Bart in his recovery, that won’t be the case for everyone with ABIs. Every ABI is different and unique, which leads to treatment plans being different and unique. Oftentimes, even in Bart’s case, therapies need to be combined to continue recovery progression.
“It doesn’t work for everyone. Nothing works 100 percent of the time,” Joel said. “These therapies work most of the time ranging from 85 percent of the time down to 65 percent of the time.”
In the years following the accident, Bart continued alternative therapies and eventually met a life of independence. He moved to Delmar and became a part of a community that not only supported him, but Bart helped brighten. As much as Bart’s family and friends are grieving his loss, Delmar has too.
Kenny Drew, one of Bart’s many friends, reached out to Joel about celebrating Bart’s life. Drew wanted Joel and Dayle to know that there were a lot of people who cared about and shared part of their lives with Bart. For many, Bart was a pillar in the community.
Bart worked part-time at Swifty’s. He also began taking guitar lessons. For many, including Drew, it was always nice to see Bart out in Delmar and enjoying his life.
At the celebration of Bart’s life, several local musicians donated their time and played in memory and honor of Bart. Not only did he impact his fellow TBI community, but anyone that crossed his path. For many, Bart reinforced how great a community Delmar is.
“Despite him having this horrible injury, he had an amazing ability to recite lines from movies. He could do it verbatim,” Drew said. “It was many, many movies and songs. It was always a humorous twist on all of them.”
On Saturday, many people went to Real McCoy Brewery to honor Bart. The brewery also organized and put together the picture montage of Bart. The brewery, like many other local businesses, was impacted by the loss of Bart; in his honor, one of the barstools at Real McCoy is now permanently dedicated to him.
Real McCoy and O’Slattery’s Irish Restaurant and Pub donated gift cards to be raffled off throughout the night. The Stram Center for Integrative Medicine, which works in collaboration with the BART foundation and treatnow.org, donated a 10-pack of hyperbaric oxygen sessions. Swifty’s also donated all of the food for the night.
After the fundraiser, some of Bart’s friends went to O’Slattery’s to continue the night of honoring Bart. The band playing dedicated a couple of songs in their set to Bart. Afterward, the entire bar toasted to Bart and his memory.
“The turnout was amazing,” Drew said. “His family was able to see what an impact Bart had on people in town.”
Although Bart’s family and the foundation are still grieving his loss, they are anxious to continue advocating for safe alternative therapies. The foundation is also hoping to help further push the needle to the understanding and acceptance of alternative therapies. With the overall hope that one day alternative therapies will become more standard practice and more widely available to survivors.
To make a contribution in Bart’s honor, please visit