Using a Lifeline
Recognizing that their healthy children are truly a gift, sisters Robin Subar of Highland Park and Rachel Silvers of Deerfield, along with the help of their friend Harriet Nemetz of Highland Park, sought out to help those whose families have been dealt a different hand. The North Shore Chapter of Chai Lifeline was born, and now it’s up to the sisters, Nemetz, and their committee to raise funds and recruit volunteers to help in this selfless and noble cause.
Chai Lifeline is a nationwide organization, whose mission is to restore the light of childhood to sick kids when it has been stolen by pediatric illness. Founded on the ideals of the Jewish culture—compassion, kindness, and caring for others—Chai Lifeline began in 1987, with the intent of giving seriously ill children as normal a childhood as possible. Tireless volunteers visit children in the hospital and work at summer camps. Chai Lifeline also offers support to the families affected, recognizing the simple fact that the well-being of the ill child impacts the well-being of the entire family. “Any child who is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease has to overcome so many obstacles,” says Silvers. “Their families are changed forever. Chai Lifeline comes in from the initial diagnosis and guides parents and siblings through a long and arduous journey.”
A part of the Chai Lifeline family is the Midwest Chapter, which began in 1995. Led by the remarkable Rabbi Shlomo Crandall, the local chapter is large in scope. Subar and Silvers soon realized the potential of bringing an additional chapter to the North Shore. Working with all local hospitals, volunteers can aid the North Shore Chapter in a myriad of ways. “We try to help patients and families regain normalcy through services like insurance support, tutoring, social work and therapy, meals, rides to appointments…the list truly goes on forever,” explains Subar.
As the wheels begin turning for the North Shore Chapter, Subar and Silvers realize that these are interesting economic times in which everyone lives, and beginning a not-for-profit, albeit a chapter of an established organization, is never an easy task. “Every day, we must be aware and grateful for our health,” says Silvers. “Even though we struggle some days or make cutbacks personally, we still are healthy, and we never know when any of us who has a child, niece, nephew, cousin, grandchild, or friend may one day need the services of Chai Lifeline.” The sisters and their committee celebrated the success of their Caliente! fund-raiser last December and are looking to add more fund-raisers on the calendar for 2012.
But even with the local feel, involvement in the organization makes one feel kindred to a truly global effort. “Chai Lifeline knows no boundaries in terms of service,” explains Subar. “If there is a family in need, we are there. The North Shore may have different needs than another community, but everyone needs the support of others during times of crisis.”
For more information on upcoming events for the North Shore Chapter of Chai Lifeline, visit chailifeline.org and select Midwest.