Four recent events highlighted the strength and support of Chai Lifeline throughout the world.
The Midwest region celebrated the 18th Hartman Family Foundation Wish at the Wall Israel excursion and the ongoing work of the region at Chai for Chai. The evening, which was hosted by philanthropists David and Chaya Tova Hartman, drew over 250 new and veteran friends for an inspiring program that looked at the astounding the growth of the region and celebrated Wish at the Wall, whose roots are in the Midwest. (Wish at the Wall is named for The Hartman Family Foundation, a major philanthropic foundation based in Chicago.)
"David and Chaya Tova, who are among the next generation of philanthropists, gave us the opportunity to tell the greater Chai Lifeline story to a new group of young leaders," said Dr. Dov Snow, the region's executive director. "We are looking forward to working together with them to increase Chai Lifeline's presence and impact."
Almost simultaneously, the annual Southeast Region Gala brought 450 friends of the organization to Xtreme Action Park in Fort Lauderdale. The group had cocktails in the Dezer Auto Museum, home to millions of dollars of classic and antique cars, before moving into the roller rink for dinner and an extraordinary and inspiring program that honored philanthropists Jacqueline and Barry Brant, Crissy and Mark Kogan, and Drs. Juliana Cepelowitz Rajter and Jean-Jacques Rajter. Chai Lifeline parent Adina Weiss Ciment told the group how Chai Lifeline has changed her son, and in turn, impacted her entire family.
"Chai Lifeline reminded us that at the center of our crisis was an 8 year old boy whom we forgot needed his childhood. They sent him to Disney. They brought him Legos. They visited him at home and played games with him. Most of all, they didn't talk to him about MRIs or tumors or surgery. They made him feel normal."
Chai Lifeline's international affiliates in Canada and London also used the time between Purim and Passover to entertain, inspire, and educate the larger communities around them. More than 1,000 friends came together at the Grosvenor House for Camp Simcha UK's "Together Again" Benefit. They heard from Lee Bladon, whose daughter lost her battle with illness earlier this year.
"When Evie was born we felt our lives were shattered, but Camp Simcha UK is unique in its ability to help you put your life back together again. I can tell you without hesitation that none of us would have coped in these last few years without Camp Simcha UK. They were there for each of us every step of the way," she told the crowd.
Donald Berman Chai Lifeline Canada reprised its successful 2016 fund raising concert with British, Yiddish & Kiddush 2, a musical production that featured the same renowned talents who starred in the event last year, British entertainer Simon Spiro, Yiddish entertainer Mike Burstyn, and world-renowned Israeli Cantor Itzhak Meir Helfgot. The sold-out concert took place at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.