These past few months have been challenging for all of us. However, the effects of COVID-19 have been especially devastating for families with a seriously ill child. Caring for a sick child is challenging under normal circumstances; doing so amid a global health crisis can be excruciating and lonely. That is where Chai Lifeline, an international health support network, comes into the picture. From the volunteers who created a hula hoop course for a boy with cancer and although he had to stay inside was able to fly a drone around the course, to the girl who was able to use Zoom to stay in touch with her friends, to the virtual camp pairing over 90 kids with volunteers for blocks of entertainment thereby giving parents a break. This is what Chai Lifeline does and is doing. Chai Lifeline is there not only to help people cope; they are there to help people thrive by lifting their spirits and bringing laughter, happiness and hope into their homes.
One of their primary programs is Camp Simcha. In Camp Simcha, these children are granted the chance to forget about their illnesses and experience life simply as children, rather than patients. A summer in Camp Simcha is an extraordinary opportunity for hundreds of children to restore their fighting spirit and renew their determination to defeat illness and suffering.
Each summer, Bike4Chai, a premier cycling event, raises funds for Chai Lifeline, enabling them to provide critical programs and services to its nearly 6,000 children and families across the globe. Last year they raised $10.4 million dollars through this event. It is one of the organization's primary sources of income of the year.
Last year, as you may recall, I was unable to take part in the ride due to injury. About six weeks before the ride was to take place I took a slide while training with some of my friends and broke my femur. Three months, one rod, and two screws later I was back outside riding again. While last year I was unable to ride, this year I am back and determined not to let anything stop me.
Usually Bike4Chai is a grand event with a two day 180 mile ride on beautiful roads through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut together with hundreds of other riders. The ride includes two nights in a hotel, the night before the ride and after the first day. The ride finishes with The World's Greatest Finish Line, which truly is something special. We ride into Camp Simcha to the cheers of crowds of campers, staff, and family members in a grand celebration of our achievement.
This year however, there will be none of that. Due to the pandemic the ride, if it takes place at all, will be very different. There will be no hotel stays, no riding with large groups of friends, and no finishing party. Instead it will be a single day ride of either 80, 100, or 120 miles. The ride will likely be split up over several days to reduce the number of riders in each group. I myself am skeptical that the government will allow their plans for the ride to be carried out, but I'm hopeful.
However, even if this year the ride doesn't take place like it usually does, the children and their families are still counting on us. We must still find ways to bring happiness and hope into the lives of those impacted by pediatric illness. We cannot, and we will not let them down. I have committed myself to raising funds to support Chai Lifeline in doing what they do best: Making sure that every child has a reason to smile. I am determined to continue helping Chai Lifeline during this critical time by raising as much money as we have in previous years regardless of what I am getting out of it. Please join me and help me reach my goal of $5,000 by contributing to my page at the link below. This year’s journey may look a little different, but my goal remains the same.
For more information about Chai Lifeline and all the work they do visit: https://www.chailifeline.org/
Thank you for supporting me, and in doing so, helping children and their families cope with the diagnosis, treatment, and the aftermath of serious pediatric illness.