Staff Spotlight: Zaza Finkelstein, Chai Lifeline Antwerp Coordinator

I first heard about Chai Lifeline and Camp Simcha, from my nieces in the USA. About 20 years ago, they were in the Big Sisters program and division heads for Camp Simcha. Their stories of bravery and resilience really inspired me. The idea that these children could not only forget the pain and suffering that was going on in their lives but actually be on top of the world for a couple of weeks was really exciting. The feeling of giving love and raising the quality of life for ill children and their siblings just blew me away. After learning more about Chai Lifeline, I thought since unfortunately there are sick children everywhere, we must introduce Chai Lifeline here in Belgium and across Europe.

Most days, I am busy preparing for the next event, whether it’s a fundraiser or a family activity, a Chanukah toy drive, a workshop, or a family retreat. I also personally keep in touch with the families and volunteers I oversee.

There was once a three-year-old child in the ICU with a very poor prognosis and the child was dangerously ill. The doctors were slowly abandoning hope. The father went to the Reb Leibish, the Peshavorsk Rebbe here in Antwerp to ask for a blessing and he said, ‘you will see much nachas from this child.’ From then on the parents had so much faith, it really impacted even the doctors, and the child slowly healed. It was amazing to feel the strength and belief, how in one minute, everything could change!

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