Chai Lifeline Families Set Sail into Chanukah Spirit with Simcha Cruise

Children with serious illness and their families got into the Chanukah spirit with Chai Lifeline’s first-ever Simcha Cruise on Sunday night, November 21. More than 1,200 participants from across the tri-state area enjoyed delicious food, exciting games and activities, and breathtaking Hudson River views of the New York skyline and Statue of Liberty aboard the three-story luxury yacht. The Chanukah Party was sponsored by Cross River Bank.

“One of the messages of Chanukah is about bringing light to the darkness,” said Rabbi Simcha Scholar, CEO of Chai Lifeline. “The mission of Chai Lifeline is to help bring light to those that are in the darkness. To bring joy, happiness, and support to those who need it most. This Chanukah party exemplifies all that our dedicated staff and volunteers do throughout the year on behalf of our families.”

Following a buffet dinner, children took part in arts and crafts, face painting, magic and bubble shows, prize giveaways, and more. Yitzy Haber of The Shnitzel Guys emceed the jam-packed party, which featured a comedy stunt show by Wacky Chad and a rocking concert by Yoni Z.

“We all had a great time!” said one Chai Lifeline mother. “The kids—and us—enjoyed the loads of entertainment. They were so happy with all you had in store for them. There was something for everyone. Our kids look forward to this all year. They may be little, but they are not too little to feel your love!”

“Not only did all my children have such a great time but they also came away from this with a more meaningful look on life,” said another mother. “Thank you for making Chanukah so special for our entire family!”

Chanukah parties and events will take place across Chai Lifeline’s various U.S. and international regions and more than 50,000 toys will be distributed to children and families around the world this Chanukah season.

Chai Lifeline is a leading international children’s health support network, providing critical support to children with life-threatening and lifelong illnesses and their families. To learn more or to make a donation, visit www.chailifeline.org

Chai Lifeline West Coast to Celebrate A Night of Champions at December 15 Virtual Gala

Chai Lifeline West Coast presents its first-ever virtual gala on Wednesday, December 15 at 8 PM. The program, titled “A Night of Champions” will honor Los Angeles residents Drs. Atara and Dael Geft and the Ellman family, and will pay tribute to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The online event will feature guest appearances by comedian Elon Gold and Jeopardy! Host Mayim Bialik. 

“The story of Chai Lifeline and the tremendous impact we have on children and families dealing with illness and loss is one of community,” said Director of Chai Lifeline West Coast, Randi Grossman. “This Gala is a tribute to our community of champions who make the life-changing work of Chai Lifeline possible.”  

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Cancer Survivor Runs For Charity

While tens of thousands of runners prepped and waited for the NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 7, one runner, 28-year-old Jonah Adelsberg, looked forward to a special milestone just three days later.  

November 10 marked 20 years since Jonah was diagnosed with non-Hodgins lymphoma at age 8, and when he began mentally training for a marathon.

Now managing a music studio in Brooklyn, NY, Jonah dedicated his marathon run to raise funds for Chai Lifeline, the international health network that provides a network of support services for children and families facing serious illness and other challenges. Over the years he and his father ran numerous half-marathons with Team Lifeline, Chai Lifeline’s endurance training program, raising over $100,000 for the organization that he credits with helping him get through his personal health crisis. This was Jonah’s first full marathon, and where better to run it than at the famed NYC Marathon, a bucket list item for Jonah and millions of others.

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Chai Lifeline Winter Retreat Gives Families Inspiration and Tools to Cope With Pediatric Illness

The Chai Lifeline Annual LH Financial Winter Retreat held this year on December 27-29 at the beautiful Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park, NJ, brought together 500 family members, rabbinic figures, mental health experts, volunteers, and staff for an extended weekend of professional and peer support, educational programming, respite and relaxation, and inspiration.

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Shabbos Programs Bring Special Simcha to Chai Lifeline’s Children

The Melava Malka at Achim B’Yachad’s Shabbaton at the Fischl home was a treat for children and adults alike.

In today’s busy society, much of our family bonding time takes place on Shabbos. It’s the day that we switch off and unplug, leaving the distractions of everyday life to focus on our loved ones.

At Chai Lifeline, some of our most powerful family moments and memories are created on community-shared Shabbatons. As Lakewood’s population grows and diversifies at unprecedented rates, we adjust our programs and retreats to appeal to as many people as possible. Two of this year’s highlights were the newly-introduced Achim B’Yachad Shabbaton and the annual Chestnut Shabbaton. read full story

Our Extended Family: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

As a family-oriented organization, we recognize the importance of forging strong connections with like-minded families. Two of our most valued relationships are with others fighting the same battle against illness in our community: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. read full story

Ask the Doctor: Talking to Children About a Cancer Diagnosis

It's impossible to shield children from sadness, but parents can take steps to make sad or disturbing news easier to hear -- and bear.

It’s impossible to shield children from sadness, but parents can take steps to make sad or disturbing news easier to hear — and bear.

Dr. Cheryl Book, Director of Family and Clinical Services, answers parents’ questions about how to break the news that someone a child knows has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.  

Unfortunately, it is quite probable that most children will know someone who is diagnosed with cancer during their childhoods. It could be a friend or teacher, a neighbor or a family member. It might be someone on their periphery, or someone close to them. Your child will have questions and will look to you for answers. The following pointers may make a difficult conversation easier. read full story

Then…and Now

Madeline's illness took a chunk of her childhood - but not her spirit or zest for life. Her experience at Camp Simcha inspired her to give forward. She now plans a professional life of helping others.

Madeline’s illness took a chunk of her childhood – but not her spirit or zest for life. Her experience at Camp Simcha inspired her to give forward. She now plans a professional life of helping others.

When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with cancer and Chai Lifeline changed my life! They were always there for me when I needed someone. Camp Simcha changed my life and I made so many friends there. I still speak to them from this day! When I grow up, I want to be an American Sign Language teacher to help kids who are deaf. Thank you Chai Lifeline!

Madeline Benoff

Camp Simcha Works Its Magic for 440 Campers

Camp Simcha was turned into a Magic Kingdom this summer.

Camp Simcha was turned into a Magic Kingdom this summer.

It’s always enchanting to watch the buses pull in to Camp Simcha. Four times a summer, children alight into the waiting arms of counselors, go through a purple arch and emerge into a world where illness recedes and fun awaits. read full story

‘THEN AND NOW’ TRACKS THE PATHS OF CHAI LIFELINE CLIENTS AND VOLUNTEERS

"Then and Now" encourages former Chai Lifeline clients and Camp Simcha campers to share their stories.

“Then and Now” encourages former Chai Lifeline clients and Camp Simcha campers to share their stories.

Does Chai Lifeline bring out the natural empathy in people, or are people who are touched by the organization more likely to nurture their empathetic abilities when choosing careers?

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