The guiding theme for Chai Lifeline Canada in 2023 is Hope Lives Here. When children and families are impacted by illness, hope feels hard to come by. Through our programs and services, our professional staff and volunteers, Hope Lives Here. Meet Avi Levy, once a Chai Lifeline Canada client, now a Chai Lifeline Canada volunteer, sharing what Hope Live Here means to him.
When asked how long he’s been involved with Chai Lifeline, Avi Levy’s answer comes easily. “For as long as I can remember,” he says with a smile.
Avi was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was a toddler and his family was visited by Chai Lifeline Case Managers while in the hospital recovering from surgery. He recalls that Case Managers and volunteers were always present when he was in the hospital. They brought food, brought toys and things to keep him busy.
Beyond the hospital visits, Avi recalls how important the times that he spent with the volunteers that were his Chai Big Brothers. As an only child, the volunteers that came into his life as Big Brothers were mentors to him. What makes Avi light up though, are his memories of his “second home” – Camp Simcha. While the activities and the non-stop fun are a big part of what makes Camp Simcha so special, for Avi, it is about the friendships and overall sense of community. It was the compassion and energy of the camp coordinators and staff that inspired Avi to want to be involved in Chai Lifeline, not as a client, but as as a volunteer.
Avi had his last surgery in 2016 and has been seizure free ever since. He’s now a rock-star volunteer in our Montreal office declaring that it’s his time to give back.
“Anyone can volunteer, anyone can donate, anyone can help any way they can with Chai Lifeline. I’ve been involved with several organizations, but none are as familiar as Chai Lifeline. There are many words to describe what kind of an organization Chai Lifeline is and what they do. But at the same time, there aren’t enough words to describe what they do.”
For a kid who is sick, the magic of Chai is according to Avi, is “making you feel like a regular kid, like you don’t have anything to be concerned about. It makes you forget about the hardship that you might be going through in your life at the moment. That’s the whole thing about what Chai Lifeline does. It gives a little sense of normalcy in a life that is crazy.”
“They’ve helped me out for so long. They came into my hospital room and they changed my life. They made it so much easier, so much better. And I want to give back to what they gave me.”
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