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Chai Lifeline
Formation 1987
Type Non-profit NGO
Purpose Cancer and chronic illness support
Headquarters New York City
  • 151 West 30th Street
Region served
Executive Vice President
Rabbi Simcha Scholar
Key people
Mordechai Gobioff, Director of Client Services
Esther Schwartz, Director of Hospital Services

Chai Lifeline is a New York City volunteer-based[1] 501(c)(3) non-profit organization[2] 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.[3] 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.[4][5][6] Chai Lifeline is funded by Jewish philanthropists and other fundraising receptions.[7][8][9][10][11] They also receive government funding and grants.[12]

Camp Simcha[edit]

Camp Simcha is a 125-acre (0.51 km2) campus located in Glen Spey, NY.[13] 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.[13][14]

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.[16][17][18][19]

It maintains a website at launched in June 2010.[20]

The camp program is directed by Dr. Peter Steinherz[14] 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[edit]

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[15] with a staff of pediatric specialists, nurses, EMTs, social workers and physical therapists.[16]

Hospital and home-based services[edit]

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.[17]


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.[18]

Educational assistance[edit]

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.

Crisis intervention and bereavement services[edit]

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[19] 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,[20][21] and after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast in 2012.[22][23]

Trips and vacations[edit]

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.[24][25] 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.[26][27][28] 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.[29][30][31][32][33] In addition, a family center at their Camp Simcha campus is available to families in need of respite when camp isn't in session.

Fundraising programs[edit]

Chai Lifeline has various fundraising programs including Team Lifeline,[34] Team Lifeline Israel,[35] Bike4Chai,[36] Go Mitzvah,[37] and Kids4Chai.[38] These programs include Marathons,[39][40][41][42] walk-a-thons,[43] bowl-a-thons[44] cycling events,[45] and other kid friendly activities.[46][47]

Sponsors[edit], Fasman Yeshiva High School, David S. Loeb, Ivanka Trump, and Lipa Schmeltzer


  1. ^ The Lakewood Scoop: Chai Lifeline NJ Kicks Off Volunteer Recruitment
  2. ^ New York NY 10001- Tax Exempt Organizations and 10001 New York New York Non Profit Organizations
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  4. ^ Jewish News of Greater Phoenix: JFCS forms crisis response team Archived June 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ The Jewish Star: Quick action averted cremation
  6. ^ The Yeshiva World PHOTOS: Misaskim Hosts Important Meeting Between NYPD Brass & Many Bais Yaakov Administrators
  7. ^ Carol Gardens Patch: Keep the Money Flowing In!
  8. ^ Lincolnshire Review: Chai Lifeline’s “Caliente: A Hot Night for a Cool Cause”
  9. ^ Ex-NHL players hit ice for sick children[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ The Yeshiva World: Chai Lifeline Lakewood 10th Anniversary Reception
  11. ^ Social Miami: Make-A-Difference Gala Benefits Chai Lifeline Southeast Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ The Yeshiva World City Council Delivers Over $5 Million Of ‘Kosher Pork’ « » Frum Jewish News
  13. ^ San Diego Jewish Journal: Special Camps for Special Kids
  14. ^ 5 Towns Jewish Times: Drs. Peter And Laurel Steinherz To Be Honored By Chai Lifeline, December 21[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ The Jewish Star: Summer in Camp Simcha Special
  16. ^ The Jewish Press: Camp Simcha Special Changes A Family's Life
  17. ^ Jewish Exponent: When in Dire Straits, a Group Offers a Hand
  18. ^ YouTube - 2010 30 Second Public Service Announcement
  19. ^ The Yeshiva World: Trained Chai Lifeline Volunteers Assist Students During Tragedy
  20. ^ CBS2 New York - Crisis Counselors Helping NYC Hasidic Community Cope With Leiby Kletzky's Murder
  21. ^ New York Times: Motherlode - Talking to Children About Tragedy
  22. ^ Vos Iz Neias: New York - Chai Lifeline, Achiezer Open Crisis Hotline For Five Towns/Rockaway.
  23. ^ The Five Towns Jewish Times: Home Is Where The Heart Is
  24. ^ Orange County Jewish Life: Super Mitzvah
  25. ^ Jewish journal: Chai Lifeline to send 12-year-old to the Super Bowl
  26. ^ Orlando Sentinel: Children with cancer get magical trip to Orlando
  27. ^ 5 Towns Jewish Times: Fantasy Becomes Reality For Kids With Cancer[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ Central Florida News 13: A magical trip for kids battling cancer Archived December 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ Chicago Tribune: Israel trip challenges, inspires teens with disabilities
  30. ^ Huffington Post: Israel Trips For Jewish Youths Expand, Including For Disabled Teens
  31. ^ Skywords with El Al: A Trip of a Lifetime for a Group of Chronically Ill Teens Archived February 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ Israel National News: Teenage Cancer Survivors on Thanksgiving Trip to Israel
  33. ^ The Yeshiva World: Leading Rabbonim Offer Brochos to Chai Lifeline’s Children During Their Wish At The Wall Trip
  34. ^ Team Lifeline Website
  35. ^ Team Lifeline Israel Website[permanent dead link]
  36. ^ Bike4Chai Website
  37. ^ Go Mitzvah Website
  38. ^ Kids4Chai Website
  39. ^ The Jewish Star: Local family runs for Chai Lifeline
  40. ^ Atlanta Jewish Times: Summer camp made accessible by Chai Lifeline[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ New Jersey Jewish Standard: Runners Cross Finish Line for Chai Lifeline
  42. ^ eJewish Philanthropy: And They’re Off
  43. ^ Jewish Review: Little campers raise big money for ill kids
  44. ^ Chabad Rancho Mirage: Chai Kids Bowlathon
  45. ^ Community Magazine: $530,000 RAISED BY BIKE4CHAI 2011
  46. ^ Chabad of Greater Monsey: Machane Bnow Monsey Raises Funds for Chai Lifeline
  47. ^ 5 Towns Jewish Times: HANC Middle School Changes The World One Mitzvah At A Time[permanent dead link]


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