Watch: A Chai Lifeline Girl’s Wish & The Rosh Yeshiva’s Bracha
A powerful video of the Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva Harav Yeruchem Olshin shlita’s bracha to a little girl at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was shown to a crowd of thousands last night at the Chai Lifeline dinner in Ateres Chana – Bais Faiga Hall in Lakewood, NJ.
A young girl with a brain tumor who had been confined to the hospital for weeks asked the Rosh Yeshiva, who visited her in the hospital, for a bracha to be able to go to Camp Simcha. Although the doctors did not think it was likely, she held on to the Rosh Yeshiva’s bracha and continued to hope. When the first day of camp arrived and she was unable to leave the hospital, dedicated Chai Lifeline volunteers brought Camp Simcha activities to her hospital room. However, she still dreamed of going to camp because, in her own words, “It’s a place where I feel understood.”
With intervention from Chai Lifeline case managers, she was eventually able to leave the hospital and attend Camp Simcha for the final days of camp.
The video was the highlight of the evening’s program, which opened with divrei bracha from the Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva Harav Malkiel Kotler shlita. The Rosh Yeshiva expressed how Chai Lifeline’s chesed has impacted hundreds of families in the Lakewood community.
Rabbi Simcha Scholar, CEO of Chai Lifeline, then spoke about how Chai Lifeline exists for a single reason: to be there for families battling illness in our community. “The rising needs of the Lakewood community are very significant. The number of new cases rises each year,” he said. Rabbi Scholar stressed that every member of Chai Lifeline is focused on filling the growing need and ensuring that every family affected by illness receives the help they so desperately need.
The Master of Ceremonies Harav Baruch Rabinowitz shlita, Rav of Talymwar in Toms River, shared how Chai Lifeline has been there for his family with attention to even the tiniest details. The crowd was moved by his personal stories and heartfelt words of gratitude for all Chai Lifeline has done for his family.
Dr. Robert Berg, Division Chief of Critical Care at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, accepted the Community Service Award on behalf of the entire team at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The award was presented by Rav Yitze Scheinerman and Rav Dovi Sorotzkin, who described how the PICU is not only one of the foremost pediatric intensive care units in the world, but also leads in culturally sensitive, humanity-centered care. He emotionally shared how his son has been personally impacted by the deep sensitivity of the doctors and nurses in the unit. He also praised the steadfast partnership between Chai Lifeline and CHOP, which has benefitted many patients and their families.
Dr. Berg also presented on recent advances in pediatric critical care to over 50 local rabbanim prior to the dinner.
The large turnout at the dinner was a source of chizuk to Chai Lifeline’s volunteers, staff, and most importantly, the families battling illness who have come to rely on Chai Lifeline at every step of their medical journey. As Rabbi Scholar said, “It’s only through the unified support of the entire community that we can continue to service and help this population in their most difficult situations.”