For those of you who remember the awful time when I couldn't stand on my own two feet, you will be really excited to hear that I’m training to run the Miami Marathon this January! Running is a personal feat for me, but I’m also running for something important: I am doing this to raise money for Chai Lifeline, an incredible organization dedicated to helping sick children and their families. After the experience I had there,I just had to do something.
Four years ago when I left the hospital in a wheelchair, I was not only physically devastated,but also emotionally drained and just plain sad. I had spent many months in different hospitals, with physical challenges that seemed far too great to bear at such a young age. Chai Lifeline & Camp Simcha literally gave me back my smile. As a camper, it seemed like I had entered a wonderland, where all the pain and suffering had disappeared for two weeks! The staff filled our days with joyous activities, all while providing top notch care. Amazing to think that I learned how to walk again,and took my very first jump on the Camp Simcha stage that first summer after leaving the rehab hospital. Being in camp with other children experiencing similar struggles to my own gave me a sense of normalcy badly needed in a most not-normal situation. Camp Simcha allows you to celebrate your differences, while participating in "regular" activities.The memories created in camp enabled me to navigate the path to my recovery throughout the rest of the year. All throughout the year, Chai Lifeline provides getaways and reunions for mini-escapes, another way they are always there to take my mind off the stress of daily life that a medically-challenged child experiences. In camp, the volunteer counselors became FAMILY, and created relationships with me that still sustain me through every turn.
My parents could not be more appreciative for the extras provided by Chai Lifeline throughout our journey. When my parents had to be at my bedside, Chai Lifeline took care of my little brother in an after- school program called i-Shine. They brought meals and snacks to the hospital throughout my stay- both in Long Island and in New Jersey. They provided rides for others to come stay with me. Chai Lifeline thinks of EVERYTHING- They don't just focus on the sick child... They help heal the entire family!
This cause is obviously very personal for me. I want to give back and I want to pay it forward. However, I know I can’t do it alone. I need your help.
Training is not easy, but neither is dealing with illness. I know this from my own experience. If the children of Chai Lifeline can fight each day, if they can push themselves to go through hospital stays and treatments, I can do this for them. But I can't do this without your support. I need your help to raise as much money as possible for these kids. So please, push the donate button and help me put smiles on the faces of sick children.
Help me show my gratitude... Let's do this together! Let's make dreams come true.
Here's a little more about what Chai Lifeline does:
Chai Lifeline is a wonderful organization that provides year–round emotional, social, and financial support to more than 4,500 children and their families every year. Chai Lifeline´s programs and activities change their lives forever, returning joy and hope and enabling them to live full and happy lives despite the presence of illness. Its most famous program is Camp Simcha and its sister camp, Camp Simcha Special. Every year these two camps offer 450 kids a chance to forget about illness and just be kids again. To get a better idea of what Chai Lifeline does for families, please watch the videos below. I know they will touch your heart the way they touched mine.
I thank you for your thoughtfulness and your donations. It means so much to me!