By Banji Ganchrow | December 29, 2016
Chai4ever. An organization whose name says it all. Once you have been embraced by this special organization, you remain a part of their family forever. Chai4ever is there to help families who are in crisis, struggling with a parent’s serious illness. They support patients battling life-threatening or chronic diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, as well as their spouses and children so that parents can heal and children can thrive.
“Families were collapsing and a communal response was desperately needed,” explained Samuel Zaks, Chai4ever’s founder and Executive Vice President of Chai4ever. “There was no organization that was solely focused on helping families if a mother or father was seriously ill and had school-aged children at home. The challenges these parents face are enormous. Trying to maintain a household for children while being there for a sick spouse is almost impossible. Something has to give and it’s usually the kids who bear the brunt of it.”
Chai4ever’s programs are designed to maintain normalcy and routine in the home while offering a supportive community and recreational opportunities that restore hope and the strength to persevere. Chai4ever offers food, transportation, counseling, insurance advocacy, support groups for both children and parents, housekeeping assistance, homework helpers, amazing family days, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, case management, Chanukah toy drive and Chol Hamoed outings. This past summer, Chai4ever launched Camp4ever!, a one-of-a-kind summer sleepaway traveling camp specifically for children whose parents are ill.
The Teaneck community celebrated this essential organization at a recent reception hosted by Rabbi Ezra and Adina Weiner to benefit Chai4ever. The stories of love and kindness emanating from the beneficiaries of Chai4ever’s services were remarkable. “Though my biological family is wonderful and supportive, it was simply impossible for them to care for their own families and mine at the same time,” said Judith Naftali, a Chai4ever client and mother of six, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. With tears in her eyes, Judith continued, “This is where my other family comes into play—Chai4ever. My Chai4ever family is always there with me. They have love and respect for who I am, they’re supportive and have a listening ear and endless ideas and energy.”
Chai4ever is based in Lakewood, New Jersey but its services extend throughout the United States and Israel. “As we have grown, we have unfortunately been inundated with new applications and requests for support. At this critical juncture,” says Zaks, “we need additional financial support to expand Camp4ever! and our other programs.”
To support the life-changing work of Chai4ever, visit www.chai4ever.org/donate.
Chai4ever’s hundreds of dedicated volunteers are the backbone of the organization, helping provide critical assistance and unbridled energy. For volunteer opportunities, visit the website www.chai4ever.org.
Patients seeking help can call the Chai4ever main office at 646-519-2190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information and to request an application.