Over the past 11 years, my wife and I have had the pleasure of volunteering for Chai Lifeline Canada. We watched as one man, Mordy Rothman, took his vision of helping as many families struggling with the effects of childhood illness, and built what is today one of the greatest support organizations we’ve ever seen. Throughout this time, we have been involved in Chai Lifeline Canada’s growth in numerous capacities. One of those was our chairing of the Sing for the Children concert for ten years. While we worked tirelessly to bring the very best musical entertainment to the Roy Thomson Stage year after year, and while each concert was an incredible success for the organization, we felt that it was time to change things up a bit this year.
We’ve taken a fresh approach to the show, the talent, the audience that we hope to attract, and the messaging throughout the show. While we are certainly proud of what the organization has become, and while their work has literally saved hundreds of families throughout our community, we feel that there are still way too many members of the community who are not familiar enough with the work, impact and importance of Chai Lifeline Canada — including those who have been incredibly generous and supportive over the years.
For those fortunate enough to have never needed to rely on the support of Chai Lifeline, it is very hard for them to understand everything that goes on. In fact, most families who rely on Chai Lifeline as a way of getting through each day do not even begin to grasp the magnitude and reach of the 25 year-round programs that are offered as a way of supporting families, like them, who going through crisis!
When a child is suddenly diagnosed with a life-threatening or life-long disease or illness, families are immediately thrown off track. Daily routine and order no longer exist. One parent, and often both parents, need to give up a job. Financial struggles bring about all kinds of other challenges. Marriages begin to crumble. Siblings of the sick child are often neglected. The sick child themselves begin to fall behind on their school work and on their social life. Entire families are in full-out distress. Psychological, emotional and financial support is the least of what is needed to help them cope. Rides to hospitals, food deliveries, tutors, therapists, support programs for the parents, the sick child, and for the siblings, are among the many, many things that are being done, every minute of every day, by the staff of Chai Lifeline Canada, and with the support of over 600 volunteers!
Our goal, through this year’s event, Restoring Hope, is to attract a younger and broader audience, and to ensure that people leave the show, well, obviously incredibly entertained, but also, with a proper appreciation for just how much is being done, day and night, to support the most vulnerable throughout our community.
Lior Suchard is the greatest mentalist of our time. He will blow your mind and leave you wondering how it is possible for him to do the things you’ll see him do.
It is that very feeling that Chai Lifeline Canada families feel when they fall into their new realities, and are suddenly smiling through each day and taking life’s challenges with ease and stride.