Disneyworld, April, 1998
Shelly's Life and Family
This wonderful organization provides practical, psychosocial and emotional assistance to seriously ill Jewish children around the globe.
We initially contacted Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, the organization's representative in Detroit and the director of Chai Lifeline's Camp Simcha, when we needed help with funding of homebound teaching for Shelly. One day I mentioned to Rabbi Goldberg that I plan a 48 hour trip to Budapest, Hungary, to pick up the viral therapy, MTH-68, which was our last hope for Shelly. When Rabbi Goldberg heard that he said right away "this is our job - we'll take care of that".
I must admit that I was a bit skeptical. This was a Friday, and the trip would have to take place the following Friday, as our small initial supply of the drug was getting low. Chai Lifeline went into action "like commandos" in Howard's words. The following Tuesday morning I received a call from Chai Lifeline that Gershon, a volunteer, will be leaving for Hungary the next day, and will arrive in Ann Arbor the following Monday to deliver the medicine directly to Shelly.
As it turned out, Shelly was hospitalized that Monday, therefore Gershon and Rabbi Goldberg came to her hospital room with the cooler that contained the medicine. Shelly knew that the young man has made the special trip all the way to Hungary, to bring her medicine, and it meant a lot to her. The three of them, Shelly, Rabbi Goldberg and Gershon, said a prayer together.
Besides travelling to foreign countries on very short notices, Chai Lifeline has a large array of programs to help children facing life-threatening illnesses. Camp Simcha is the organization's flagship program. Directed by Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, this is the foremost kosher summer camp for seriously ill children. They also offer homebound teaching, support groups, wish granting, counseling for siblings, retreats and trips to Israel and Disneyworld, toy drives and help with dealing with insurance companies.
created by Ruti Volk