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In Memory of Nachshon Eckhardt and Leah Pearl

Ari Galster | Chicago , IL

Ari Galster

For the past few months I have been contemplating my participation at Bike4Chai. Although signed up, my registration always felt more of a placeholder with a final decision to be made closer to the recommitment deadline. These past 5 years have been nothing short of incredible. With the help of friends, family and coworkers over 50k has been raised throughout the campaigns. When I first started I honestly didn’t know much about Chai Lifeline and only knew of Camp Simcha as the place the “geshmak” guys were counselors at. The breadth of Chai Lifeline’s reach, helping over 5,000 families across the world with numerous programs and volunteers was completely foreign to me. It was only when approached by Zacharia Waxler with the vision of creating an office team that I began to understand. My only qualification according to Zacharia was that “I appeared to be in better shape than most in the office”. Little did Zacharia realize, I had never owned a bike and it had been years since I dared to ride one. Not one to back down from a challenge, I accepted the offer and set on a journey that would push me to the limit on and off the bike. The unimaginable experiences and relationships I have created over the years are too vast for this space. Even after 5 years, thinking about that moment when you roll into camp still gives me goosebumps.

So with the deadline approaching what would I do? Did I have the same motivation? Could I be innovative again to come up with new fundraising ideas? Do I have the same thick skin to handle rejection or should I give up my spot to allow someone hungrier to participate?

With much heartbreak, motivation came from a source I had hoped against for the past 1.5 years. Earlier today (5/9/19) Nachshon Eckhardt was laid to rest by his parents in Israel. As a testament to his special soul and all that he brought to this world, Nachshon passed away on his birthday, reminiscent of Moshe Rebeinu. Surrounded by loved ones, the images from Nachshon’s 4-year-old birthday party are at once heart rendering and hear warming. Although so somber, the amount of love in that moment is palpable and offers a glimpse into the family that made Nachshon so special. Where others would stumble and fall, Nachshon’s parents stood tall and displayed their strength of faith despite the unimaginable pain they endured. They would constantly thank all those praying and performing good deeds on Nachshon’s behalf and I doubt they will ever grasp the number of friends, family or strangers they inspired. It was at my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah last year, as I struggled to find any words of comfort, Nachshon’s grandfather turned to me with the powerful message that children are a gift and only G-d decides when to give them or receive them.

True to their nature, Nachshon’s family was so thankful that I dedicated last year’s Bike4Chai campaign to him. When my brother-in-law explained to a relative what Chai Lifeline is he prefaced it by saying that’s the organization that is going to take Nachshon to Israel when he recovers. Although Nachshon was able to attend other Chai Lifeline events, he never was able to make the trip to Israel as part of Wish at the Wall. Sadly, Nachson is just one of over 5,000 sick children throughout the world that Chai Lifeline is dedicated to and needs our help to continue their mission. Bike4Chai is Chai Lifeline’s number one fundraiser and will directly impact thousands of lives through the funds we raise. There is nothing more special than putting a smile on a sick child’s face and allowing them to feel like the child that they truly are.

The goal is for all riders combined to raise $10M in honor of Bike4Chai’s 10th year and I am more motivated than ever to make that happen. My personal campaign will once again be dedicated to Nachshon and my mother-in-law Leah Pearl.

Please contribute by clicking on the donate button now.

Thank you for supporting me and, in doing so, helping children and their families cope with the diagnosis, treatment, and aftermath of serious pediatric illness.

Best Regards,

PS. For more information regarding this ride please visit

Day 1

Day 2


raised of $12,000 goal


1. Anonymous
2. Anonymous
Jump start 2020
3. Anonymous
For the medical bills for your wrist
4. Aharon And Elana Karan
5. Anonymous
6. Mom and Dad
We are so proud of you Ari
Member of

Team Symphony


Fundraising History

Total Amount Raised since 2014
raised in 2018
raised in 2017
raised in 2016
raised in 2015
raised in 2014
60 donors