The Lupus Y Latinos Foundation honored Union City’s Dr. Gilberto Gastell, who has been at his practice for 30 years, with their excellence award at their fourth annual gala last night.
” … Like I said before, I’m very humbled to be in his presence. Not only do his patients say he’s a fantastic doctor, but they call him a family person: ‘my family,'” said West New York Mayor Felix Roque, also a pain management specialist.
Roque attended the event, held at La Fortuna in Fairview, with Commissioners Susan Colacurcio and Margarita Guzman and surprised Gastell with a proclamation on behalf of the town. Gastell spent some of his early life in West New York and is a graduate of Memorial High School.
“So they take that to heart because he’s a fantastic human being. And that’s the reason we’re here, because not only is he bringing more awareness, like Armando said, but he really cares about the community and he cares about Lupus and helping his patients.”
Gastell, who is known to see patients at his 37th Street office past midnight on a regular basis, was gracious when he took the microphone.
“I feel greatly honored and humbled by this appreciation tonight. And I feel that, those who know me, know that I don’t like these kind of venues because I feel, honestly, like the worst doctor in the world,” the doctor explained.
“And what I do everyday is try to learn more, be better and be a person that, that God created, which is: treat my patients like my family. And that’s what I do.”
Giselle Gastell, Gilberto’s daughter, had another surprise for the roughly 200 guests on hand: performing a rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” which saw her and her father embrace for a slow dance at one point.
Lupus Y Latinos Co-Founder and President Armando Hernandez said Dr. Gastell was “a consensus choice” for the organization, before speaking about the positive impact he has had on the North Hudson community.
“We couldn’t get him an award big enough, it wouldn’t fit in this room, what he deserves, we all know that, okay. He doesn’t want recognition, and like we’ve heard throughout the whole night, his thing is taking care of his patients,” Hernandez said.
“He works day and night, a lot of times past midnight: he’s in his office. Hopefully, after we leave here tonight, you won’t make your round, take a night off, please doctor … I have to say this to my Republican buddies out here: for the last, for the past 30 years, he’s made our community great. The past 30 years.”
Hernandez lost his daughter, Joamelly R. Arteaga, to lupus shortly after she graduated from college. She was 22 years young.
Pastor Rafael Sanchez served as the emcee of the evening and last year’s honorees, Dr. Michael Guma and Dr. Louise Albornoz, also spoke at the event to explain the basics of Lupus.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues, doing a poor job of fighting off outside germs and bacteria.