Kids have been a large part of the fundraising effort of ALS Association of Greater New York. That’s why we created this special section called, “Kids Who Care.”
Children whose family members or friend’s family have been afflicted with ALS rise to the challenge, raising thousands of dollars each year with their varied efforts. Whether it’s organizing a Walk to Defeat ALS team, a school fundraiser or a charitable donation through a religious organization, kids have always been an integral part of the fight against ALS. In this section we honor as many of the Kids Who Care as we can.
If you know of a child whose efforts need to be highlighted here or if you want to learn more about how you or someone you know can help the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease, please email the ALS Association of Greater New York, today.
Katy Donchik’s grandfather is a patient at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital ALS Center. She wrote a beautiful poem about her “Papa” in her seventh grade class for a school project. She also shared her story with us:
It all started when my Papa was beginning to have trouble moving his pinky finger on his left hand. We all thought that it was no big deal and that he would heal in no time. I have two younger sisters (Lily and Bridget), and one younger brother (James), and we never thought that he would get worse. No one in the family had any idea that this minor finger trouble was Lou Gehrig's Disease. None of us thought that my Papa could lose his life because of this. However, we were totally wrong. My Papa was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease in November of 2008. My Papa doesn't seem scared at all.
He could be saying, "Why me?" but he doesn't. He smiles and treats every day as a precious gift. It's hard to watch him get weaker but I'm going to try to be as optimistic as I can. My whole family is extremely sad but we try to smile and enjoy every moment we have with him. My family, my Nana and Papa went on a vacation to the British Virgin Islands for Easter. When we got back from our vacation, school resumed. I go to Our Lady of Good Counsel in Staten Island, New York. My seventh grade class was assigned a poetry project and we had to write a poem. My teacher, Ms. Laskowski, told us that we should write about something we feel strongly about or something we can explain very well. I already knew what I was going to write about... my Papa.
I handed in my project and two days later my teacher said that she wanted to talk to me. She told me that my poem was beautiful and that she would recommend publishing it to help create awareness for ALS. My principal, Mrs. Santangelo, was very supportive as well. (She'd be happy to answer any questions you have.) I sent my poem to the ALS Association and since then it has been published on the web and I've been asked to help out in ALS Awareness Day on Staten Island scheduled for June 19th. I'm hoping to start a fundraiser in my school next year. Not many people know about ALS. I'm hoping to spread the word and help the doctors find a cure. My Papa has taught me many things but the most important thing is this...every day is a gift from God, treat it like one. I just hope I'll have millions of "gifts" left with my Papa.
A Warrior - by Katy Donchik
He always is so nice, so funny, so sweet,
He certainly does not deserve this devastating feat.
He always wanted to camp or go on a simple hike,
He even taught my mother how to ride her bike.
He always could do work with a hammer and a nail,
Now he cannot because his fingers will fail.
The night that I found out, I shed a million tears,
I had a right to though, with everything to fear.
I admire his bravery; he just goes on with life,
Even when he was diagnosed with this horrible strife.
No doctors have a cure, for this horrible disease,
And I guess that is why every night I get down on my knees.
God is our only hope; the doctors have no clue,
God will you please guide them to do what they have to do.
My Papa is a warrior, ready to fight to his death,
I know that he will fight till he takes his final breath.
I ask you all to pray, please pray every day,
And maybe God will take his ALS away.
The kids at the Hegarty School in Island Park, New York raised $3,215 through its annual fundraising drive. Funds were raised by placing containers in the schools, holding a raffle and through their annual "Winner's Walk." Shown here is the schools' student council presenting a check to Jackie Reinhard, Executive Director of The ALS Association of Greater New York chapter. Funds will be used for patient care and to find a cure for ALS.
After seeing the New York Yankee and Duane Reade's successful "Strike Out ALS" campaign, Yeshivah of Flatbush High School students decided that they wanted to contribute to the fight against ALS. In honor of Linda Mandelbaum, a PALS and secretary of the YOF college guidance department, the students organized a basketball/soccer tournament, soliciting sponsors from local merchants and families and charging $20 per student to participate on a team. By the tournament's start on May 16, the students had raised over $7,000 for ALS.
Prior to the tournament, the students gathered at the Joel Braverman High School for a pre-game ceremony, where Marie Levy, one of the student organizers read a letter from Ms. Mandelbaum, saying, "You are young and have the power to have an enormous impact on ALS research. In addition, this game is a celebration of life for all of you that wake up in the morning and can actually speak the words 'Modeh Anee' [a prayer thanking God upon waking], can get dressed for yourselves and come to school with determination to succeed. I am moved beyond words by your coming together for this important project and signing up so many teachers, friends and sponsors."
Many thanks to Mrs. Sara Ovadia, faculty advisor of the Yeshivah's Tzedakah (Charity) Commission, the families and merchants that sponsored the tournament - the Shrem family, Richard and Jane Rudy, Steve and Michelle Sasson, Glori and Meir Cohen and family, Bagel Hole, Jerusalem II Pizza, Kosher Subway, Netanya Fast Food and Restaurant, Glatt Zone, Ave. J Stores, Pizza Time, Blueswitch, and Circa. Students involved in the organization of the event were tournament organizers Eric Setton and Abie Cohen, Tzedakah Commission heads Morris Shalom and Marie Levy; assistant commissioners Joseph Harary and Isaac Sasson; Ralph Zirdok, Bobbie Salame, Vivian Abramson, Noam Benamy, Aline Elmann and Charlie Shrem.
Click for more information about the New York Yankee and Duane Reade "Strike Out ALS" Campaign.Back To Top
Long Beach Catholic Regional School encourages its students to give back to the community. Led by Principal, Ms. Danca and teacher, Ms. Tursi, the school selects a charity each year for a lesson in fundraising and giving. To honor teacher, Ms. Batus' mother, a PALS, the school selected The ALS Association as the charity to benefit from its fundraising.
Greater New York Chapter Executive Director, Jackie Reinhard, visited the school to educate the students about ALS and kick off the week-long fundraising activities, which brought in over $6,500. The top fundraisers were brothers, 4th grader, Teddy and 2nd grader, Kiernan Reinhard, whose grandfather, Theodore Reinhard, died of ALS (No relation to Jackie Reinhard).
To close the fundraising event, Ms. Batus read a letter from her mother, Antoinette (Nettie) Percudani, to the students. Nettie thanked the students for their hard work and dedication to supporting people living with ALS by saying, "Thank you, once again, for the monies raised for the ALS Association. I pray that one day there will be a cure so that people won't have to suffer. It makes me smile to think that because of me, in some small way, you have helped that dream."
Many thanks to Ms. Danca, Ms. Tursi, Ms. Batus and the students of Long Beach Catholic High School for their support in the fight against ALS.
To read Nettie's letter to the Long Beach Catholic Regional School's students, please click here.Back To Top
After seeing his cousin, PALS, Lance Herner, confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home, high school junior, Jeff Numark was inspired to take action.
After an online search, Jeff and his mother stumbled upon the website for Chores-for-Charity, which encourages middle and high school aged students to turn their part-time, summer, babysitting and odd jobs into community service by donating part of the proceeds to a charity of their choice. Jeff explains, "Instead of just donating money directly to The ALS Association, Chores for Charity provides students with extra incentive to contribute because they will receive recognition for community service. In other words, any 'unpaid' hours worked are considered 'volunteer' hours worked by Chores-for-Charity."
Jeff encourages students to become involved with Chores-for-Charity because, "A student contributing his or her own money to charitable organizations shows an outstanding amount of philanthropy and maturity at a young age. Beyond that, charities depend on large support bases from people of all ages to be successful and to make a difference. If young people donate and become involved, they can help solidify the support that is necessary for researchers to come closer to finding a cure, or in the meantime, offer aid to those suffering from ALS."
Visit Jeff Numark and the Chores-for-Charity table at the Saddle Brook Walk to D'Feet ALS on June 3rd for more information about participating in Chores-for-Charity or visit www.choresforcharity.com.Back To Top
On February 13th, Jenny Hynes was honored by State Senator Martin Golden (R-22) with a resolution to honor her efforts, which included raising funds for the Greater New York Chapter. Jenny, a 2006 graduate of Public School 222, rasied funds with the help of her teacher, Ms. Trinka, by selling "Never Give Up" bracelets, paper baseballs and raffling off Walk to D'Feet ALS tee shirts.
In July, Senator Golden issued a proclamation commending Jenny "for her display of outstanding citizenry in support of ALS." The resolution, passed on February 13th, was presented on the Senate floor.Back To Top
Before being recognized as an adult in the Jewish community, Bryan Schonfeld had to complete a series of requirements leading up to his Bar Mitzvah, including giving tzedaka (charity).
When it came to fulfilling his tzedaka, Bryan choose The ALS Association to be the recipient of his Bar Mitzvah gifts. In his Bar Mitzvah speech, Bryan said about his connection to ALS, "In my case, I feel that there is a lot of meaning in a name. My Hebrew name is Dov. I was named after my Grandpa Bernie. He passed away from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, when my mom was a teenager. My mom has told me that I was named after a smart, generous and warm person. In Judaism, we believe that naming a baby after a deceased loved one will both honor his memory and as well as pass on his character to the newborn."
In addition to donating his gifts, Bryan also invited his friends and family to take a role in spreading ALS awareness by offering them red "Never Give Up" bracelets.