More than 1,300 friends and supporters of Chai Lifeline crowded into the Marriott
Marquis' Grand Ballroom earlier this month to be inspired by the organization's work
and those who make it possible.
"Chai Lifeline has pioneered a comprehensive, integrative approach that encourages sick children to see beyond illness. There's so much you can't control about illness. But Chai Lifeline teaches kids and their families to control what they can," said Ethan Zohn, the reality TV show star and two-time cancer survivor. "Tonight we are here to say "Thank you" to people who give so generously so that sick children can find hope in every day."
Evan Levy Fund Offers Additional Family Support
The organization announced the establishment of the Evan Levy z'l Fund, which will provide financial support for families in the midst of medical crises. The Fund was created by Evan's parents, Andrew and Margaret Levy, who were moved by the plight of families who were left in precarious financial situations by a child's illness.
A visibly moved Andrew addressed the Gala audience and thanked the hundreds of people who had generously given to the fund. "Because of you, Evan's name will be forever linked to kindness and courage."
We are tremendously moved that the Levy's chose to partner with us to improve the lives of our young clients and their families," remarked Rabbi Scholar. "The Evan Levy z'l Fund will give families in need resources that will allow them to focus on their children's treatment and maintain their family routines."
Praise for Susan Mascitelli
Chai Lifeline paid tribute to Susan Mascitelli, Senior Vice President, Patient Services and Liaison to the Board of Trustees of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She received the Maimonides Medical Achievement Award in recognition of her dedication to assuring that patients and their families have the best possible experience and outcomes throughout her career.
Dr. Steven J. Corwin, NYP's president and CEO, agreed that the partnership between the two organizations is vitally important. "Chai Lifeline represents what our hospital aspires to, which is (being) all about the patient and the patient's family," he said.
Camp Simcha Appreciation Award Highlights Young Leaders
Ben and Hindy (Bertram) Schlossberg shared the Camp Simcha Appreciation Award with Moshe Buchen. Hindy is a second generation Chai Lifeline leader (her parents are longtime supporters) who was a Camp Simcha staff member. Now that she is married, her involvement continues. She cycles every summer as part of Tour de Simcha, a grueling 70-mile trek from New Jersey to Camp Simcha to raise money for Chai Lifeline's activities, and is the Lakewood liaison to the organization's active alumni group. Her husband Ben is her partner in all these activities, working with her to raise money and involving the entire family in Chai Lifeline activities.
Hindy described her reason for adopting Chai Lifeline as her cause of choice. "Chai Lifeline exists purely to make lives better for other people."
Moshe, also a former Camp Simcha counselor, received a special treat: his award was presented to him by his camper, Luke. Luke had been the youngest camper at Camp Simcha his first summer. He is currently in high school and he and Moshe are still in contact. "Moshe is a member of our family," averred Luke's mother.
Moshe explained Chai Lifeline's impact upon families like Luke's. "The organization has figured out what families need and how to help them move beyond their illness."
In addition to the presentations, guests got to see what's in store for Chai Lifeline's future. During the reception, an Idea Lab showcased program innovations like Chai-Bot, a double robotic that will allow homebound and hospitalized children to interact with their friends and classmates in real time, and Simcha University, a unique collaboration that will bring experts and educators into hospital rooms and homes so that patients can learn anything from the arts to astronomy while recuperating.