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|Purpose||Cancer and chronic illness support|
|Headquarters||New York City|
Executive Vice President
|Rabbi Simcha Scholar|
Mordechai Gobioff, Director of Client Services|
Esther Schwartz, Director of Hospital Services
Chai Lifeline is a New York City volunteer-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that primarily works with children battling cancer. It has multiple regional offices in the United States as well as affiliates in Canada, England, Israel, and Belgium. Founded in 1987 and currently headed by Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline was primarily a cancer support organization that mushroomed into an umbrella organization which carries the motto Fighting Illness With Love. A widely acclaimed project is its pilot program Camp Simcha, a summer camp for children battling cancer and other hematological illnesses. Camp Simcha has since expanded and opened a second branch, Camp Simcha Special, for children with debilitating chronic conditions. Another program they initiated is the Project C.H.A.I. Crisis Intervention program. This program ensures that children, their parents, teachers, clergy and communities can properly deal with traumatic events, often partnering with organizations such as Jewish Family & Children's Service of Arizona's Aleinu program and Misaskim. Chai Lifeline is funded by Jewish philanthropists and other fundraising receptions. They also receive government funding and grants.
Camp Simcha is a 125-acre (0.51 km2) campus located in Glen Spey, NY. NY that offers children with cancer ages 5–20 an unforgettable experience to forget about their illnesses for a while. Campers enjoy traditional camp activities, including mini-golf, pottery, crafts workshops, modified sports, color war, and talent shows. Special events include: helicopter rides, concerts, and interactive games and shows. There's also an on-site arcade, computer-games center, library, and screening room. A magnificent pool with innovative ramp and water-submersible wheelchairs enables that every child can go swimming. A waterfront boasts the Chai Seas motorboat, a pontoon boat capable of holding an entire bunk, including wheelchair-dependent children, paddle and bumper boats.
On July 18, 2011 Camp Simcha set the official Guinness World Records™ entry for the longest awareness ribbon with a 1,340-foot gold-colored ribbon to generate pediatric cancer awareness.
It maintains a website at http://campsimcha.org launched in June 2010.
The camp program is directed by Dr. Peter Steinherz and an entire team of oncologists, pediatric oncology nurses, EMTs, social workers and physical therapists. In case of emergencies, an acute transport ambulance is on-site at all times, and accompanies campers on any trips. A Medevac helicopter is on call, and can reach the camp within five minutes.
Camp Simcha Special was created in 2001 to meet the medical and social needs of children and teens with disabilities, chronic diseases, or genetic diseases. Located on the same campus as Camp Simcha. The program is directed by Dr. Robert van Amerongen with a staff of pediatric specialists, nurses, EMTs, social workers and physical therapists.
Advocacy and Case Management – a team of case managers that offer emotional support and information. Insurance Support Service – Providing general information including: explaining insurance coverage and helping to complete reimbursement applications. Meal Support – Providing meals to hospitalized patients and their families, many times also supplying food for families with a sick child when cooking is impossible. Transportation Services – Transportation to and from medical centers and doctors’ appointments. Chai House – A house located in the close proximity of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to accommodate family spending periods of time in the hospital.
Chailine Telephone Support Groups – Parents of children with similar prognosis discuss their situations offering support via conference calls facilitated by professional therapists. Healing Hearts Bereavement Program – Annual weekend retreats and counseling where parents who lost a beloved child are comforted. Chai Family Centers – Community-based counseling centers help children and parents cope with the impact of illness on their lives. Short-term counseling – Transient advice for ill children, their parents and/or siblings is available through regional offices. ChaiNet – A community by and for Chai Lifeline families, Chai Net allows parents to exchange information and support one another in their battles against pediatric illness. Partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure Chai Lifeline provides counseling for Jewish women with breast cancer.
ChaiLink – Webcam connections that link hospitalized or recuperating children to classrooms, teachers, and friends, and loans of laptop computers loaded with educational software. Homebound Educational Learning Program – A tutoring program that enable hospitalized or recuperating children to keep up with their schoolwork.
Chai Lifeline has a team of mental health professionals ready to assist in a scenario where professional help is needed. When tragedy strikes, a team led by Dr. Norman Blumenthal offers emotional and professional support to educators, parents, friends, and families. Project C.H.A.I. received media attention many times most notably after the India 2008 Mumbai attacks at the Chabad House, in the aftermath of the Murder of Leiby Kletzky in New York where the team led a global effort to help children manage their fear and grief, and after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast in 2012.
Chai Lifeline arranges trips for children who spend their days in and out of the hospital. Trips involve sporting events, shows, and special trip such as a trip to the Super Bowl. Orlando Trip – Sponsored by the Ohr Meir foundation, children spend four magical days at Florida's Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld Orlando theme parks. Wish at the Wall – Provides a 10-day trip to Israel for teens along with one parent each; alternating years between a group of teenage cancer survivors and teens who have learned to manage complex chronic illness. In addition, a family center at their Camp Simcha campus is available to families in need of respite when camp isn't in session.
Chai Lifeline has various fundraising programs including Team Lifeline, Team Lifeline Israel, Bike4Chai, Go Mitzvah, and Kids4Chai. These programs include Marathons, walk-a-thons, bowl-a-thons cycling events, and other kid friendly activities.
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