My dad and I are running the Miami Half Marathon this February to honor the memory of a beautiful young girl, Sophie Spangenthal and to raise money for Chai Lifeline, a wonderful organization dedicated to helping very sick children and their families.
I first met Sophie in 2018 at Camp Simcha. Sophie was diagnosed with cancer at age 2 and she was 4 years old that summer, one of the youngest campers at Camp Simcha. Sophie was adorable, full of life, always laughing and smiling, and loved to have fun. We spent two weeks together that summer singing and dancing, dressing up, playing games, and eating ice cream and pizza.
After the summer, I spent a year in Israel, but Sophie and I remained close. We spoke or facetimed almost every day, left each other messages, and sent each other photos and videos. Over the course of the year Sophie continued with her treatments, but sadly her condition worsened. Despite the pain and difficulty with her cancer and with her treatments, her glowing personality persevered. She insisted on returning to Camp Simcha because it brought her so much joy, and the next summer in 2019 Sophie was able to return to Camp Simcha and I was blessed to spend another two weeks with her. She lost her first tooth at camp while eating pizza, she baked and decorated cookies and cake for her bunk each day, and she crafted art projects for her family. Everyone at Camp Simcha knew Sophie, and everyone loved “Super Sophie” and took turns spending time with her, but she remained quite vocal who did and did not have the authority to push her stroller around camp!
Sophie taught me so much about life. She taught me the meaning of strength, love, friendship, and joy. I miss her every day, but I am also so grateful that I had the opportunity and pleasure to be her friend.
Sophie spent her last days at Camp Simcha doing what she loved, and that is one of the many reasons we are running to support Chai Lifeline. Chai Lifeline is a wonderful organization that provides year–round emotional, social, and financial support to more than 5,800 children and their families every year.
I was first introduced to Chai Lifeline when I saw how vital Chai Lifeline was to my dear friend Evan Levy and his family as Evan was fighting cancer. It is because of Evan that I was inspired to volunteer with Chai Lifeline and Camp Simcha. Like Sophie, Evan was a child who lit up a room, brought happiness to others, and impacted everyone who knew him.
Chai Lifeline´s programs and activities change lives forever, returning joy and hope and enabling families 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 nearly 500 kids a chance to forget about illness and just be kids again. Chai Lifeline was a crucial part of Sophie’s life.
My dad and I are honored to run this race in memory of Sophie, and we hope to raise money to support Chai Lifeline and all the amazing work they do on behalf of thousands of children like Sophie each year.
Please join us in supporting Chai Lifeline and our run in memory of Sophie!
Kira and Natie Fox
To get a better idea of what Chai Lifeline does for families, please watch the videos below. We know they will touch your heart the way they touched ours.