Chai Lifeline is an international non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the non-medical needs of seriously ill children, their families and communities. Our mission is to enhance lives through programs and services that offer friendship, good times, great memories, and social and emotional support.
Although we are best known as a cancer support organization, we help children suffering from any life-threatening illness as well as those who have serious chronic or genetic conditions.
Is Chai Lifeline a local organization?
While we operate around the world, Chai Lifeline truly is a local organization. When a family needs help, we assign a case manager who stays with the family for as long as the family needs our assistance. These relationships endure for years.
What programs and services are available?
Chai Lifeline offers twenty-four free year-round programs and services. Our most famous programs are our two overnight summer camps for seriously ill children. Camp Simcha, for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, is one of the only “cancer camps” that accept children on active treatment, and one of the few offering two-week sessions. Camp Simcha Special is the first camp designed to meet the medical and social needs of children with more than 60 disparate diagnoses. Together, these camps give 400 children and teens a vacation from illness, pain, and isolation every summer.
In addition to camp, Chai Lifeline offers professional case management; Big Brothers and Big Sisters; special events; sibling programs; advocacy and information; insurance support services; counseling; meals and hospital visits; retreats and family respite vacations, family days, and holiday parties; tutoring; crisis intervention and bereavement services.
Services are developed to meet the changing needs of our families. For example, when studies confirmed our clients’ reports that one of the major reasons for missing medical appointments was a lack of transportation, Chai Lifeline began a transportation assistance program that provides thousands of rides to physicians’ offices, hospitals, and treatment centers every year.
What makes Chai Lifeline unique?
Chai Lifeline understands that serious illness impacts the entire family. Therefore our programs are geared towards everyone. Volunteer Big Brothers and Big Sisters are assigned not only to the sick child, but to his or her siblings if needed. There are several counseling options available for parents, the sick child and siblings. There are many opportunities for the entire family to participate in programs together, from family days and holiday celebrations to our annual Family Retreat, a weekend of peer and professional support that brings 15 families together.
Chai Lifeline is a leader in using technology to meet client needs. ChaiLink connects children who are hospitalized or homebound for long periods of time to their schools via state-of-the-art webcams. ChaiLines uses teleconferencing to bring parents of children with similar diagnosis together with a professional therapist for biweekly support sessions.
Is there any cost to the family?
No. All Chai Lifeline programs and services are available free of charge. We even pay the transportation costs to and from Camp Simcha.
Who can I call for more information or if there is a family that needs Chai Lifeline’s help?
Contact Chai Lifeline at 212-465-1300 or 1-877-CHAILIFE.