Balloons for Chai: Creating, Celebrating & Supporting through COVID-19

At Chai Lifeline Canada, every day is filled with inspiration. We are constantly inspired by our Chai Warriors and their families, by our volunteers, by our donors, our runners and cyclists and also, by our dedicated team.

A whole new level of inspiration has been reached throughout COVID-19 as we see the fun and creative ways that people in our community are supporting our families and our work.

In the coming weeks we’re going to be sharing some of the special ways that people are using their time and talents to make a big difference.

From 2nd birthdays to 90th birthdays and everything in between, there are balloon bouquets and Julia has made them all. With her business, Balloons For Chai, she has found something that she loves to do and a way to support Chai Lifeline Canada at the same time.

It began this past April, one month into COVID-19 isolation, and her daughter’s 3rd birthday approaching. It was clear that this was going to be a very different birthday than she had been planning for…but balloons…she could fill the house with balloons. Surely she could find balloons. She could. She did. Though it was much harder and much more expensive than anticipated.

This got her thinking…and searching…and sourcing. Soon she had purchased a home helium tank, piles of assorted balloons and launched Balloons for Chai on Facebook. She set out to make celebrating special events during COVID a little bit easier for families and support Chai families at the same time.

Julia knows first-hand what it looks and feels like to be a Chai family. When her eldest son, Ethan, was diagnosed with a medical condition that required surgery and hospitalization at Sick Kids, Julia and her family were faced with challenges, experiences and emotions that you could never prepare for. The support from Chai Lifeline helped her whole family – hospital visits from case managers who brought smiles, favourite meals and surprises, as well as someone to talk to; hang outs at home for her younger son with Chai volunteers and special holiday events were always a highlight for her family.

While Julia and her family have been supported by Chai Lifeline, they have also been generous in flowing support back to ensure that other children and families receive what they need too. They have held hugely successful Toy Drives that donated more than 300 toys! Julia was also getting ready to train for the Team Lifeline Vegas run in the fall when COVID hit.

Balloons for Chai has taken off and is something that Julia has found so much goodness in. Creating the one-of-a-kind balloon bouquets has been a creative outlet and it also brings personal joy to be part of celebrating milestones for her customers. She has made balloon bouquets for birthdays, graduations and bar and bat mitzvahs that have filled the living rooms and zoom backgrounds for special days.

As word of mouth spread and she got busier, she has invested in a heavy-duty helium tank, “the biggest you can get” and some days she makes 6 arrangements in a day. She estimates that she has made more than 150 since April and has donated more than $3000 to Chai Lifeline Canada. The price per bouquet varies, depending on the size and style. Julia sets the base price at her cost of the individual balloons and the helium and asks that a donation of any amount be made to Chai Lifeline Canada. For all donations of $10 or more, Chai Lifeline Canada sends tax receipts directly to the donor.

If you have any questions about Balloons for Chai or to order your balloon bouquets, you can find Julia on Facebook at Balloons For Chai or you can email her at julia.rothman@gmail.com