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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Running to Help

Well, I did it.

After almost a week of hemming and hawing, I surfed my way over to www.teamlifeline.org and ponied up the registration fee for their Miami marathon. By doing so I have committed to train for the marathon (which takes place January 25), and to raise $3,600 for Camp Simcha, Chai Lifeline's summer camp for terminally ill children. It's the only kosher summer camp of its kind in existence, and is an enormous chesed for both the children and their families.

$3,600 is - at least to my tuition-centric, student mind - an enormous sum of money. But I feel confident that people who understand the great work that Chai Lifeline does and appreciate the exertion that us marathon runners are willing to put in for the cause, will help me reach that goal and even surpass it.

Chai Lifeline's motto is "Fighting Illness with Love." They're fighting illnesses with no cure, so love and compassion are the only ways to battle back the disease and keep despair at bay. They provide support and counseling services, internet hookups to allow kids to keep up with their classes and friends from their hospital beds, meals delivered to home or hospital, and a host of other small services that make a huge difference when your life has been turned upside down.
But Camp Simcha was their first project and a wild success, and it is Camp Simcha that the marathon funds are going to support. It's tough being a sick kid in a healthy world - Camp Simcha helps these children forget it all and just have fun with people who understand them and what they're going through. It's a month of golden relief in an otherwise tumultuous and terrifying year.

A few quotes taken from their website:
"Camp made me forget about all the bad times I had."
~ Camper at Camp Simcha

"I can shoot a whole roll of film of him at home and never see that smile that I saw in his pictures from Camp Simcha."
~Vicky Olesky, camper's mom

"At Camp Simcha, no one asked questions or stared if you didn't have any hair. I thought it was the greatest place on earth."
~ Former camper at Camp Simcha
If you'd like to help these children have an awesome summer (and also help me reach my fundraising goal), please follow this link and be generous. You have a whole lifetime to earn back those few extra dollars, but for these kids, every summer has to count.

All donations are tax and ma'aser deductible.

Don't push it off until you forget - donate now and bring a smile to a child's face.

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