Where They Are Now: ft. David Hascal

Meet David. Like his friends, he’s spending the summer preparing for a big new chapter in his life. When classes begin in September, he’ll be at Western University with a coveted spot in the Ivey Advanced Entry Opportunity program. He’ll been living in a dorm down the hall from some of his best friends. If you met David today, you wouldn’t know that when he was three years-old he was diagnosed with Leukemia. That’s when we met him.

Our next Chai Lifeline Graduate in the Where Are They Now series is David Hascal.

Looking back David remembers being surrounded by positivity and friendship at Chai Lifeline. From the get-go, David and his sister were each paired up with Chai Big Siblings. While it might be a funny thought that teenaged volunteers could bond with a three-year-old, David recalls their friendship as easy and fun. “It can be hard to socially interact with people when you’re always in the hospital, but Yaffi and Sargi provided friendship, relieved stress and were people to talk to.” They visited him in the hospital, did arts and crafts, joined him at holiday events and became special friends for David.

David was in and out of the hospital for the better part of three and a half years and going back to school was exciting, but also a bit scary. He credits his relationships with Yaffi and Sargi for helping him with the adjustment. They were always there for him. He does not think he would have been as comfortable had he not had his Chai Big Sibs who were so involved in his life. It became a seamless transition going from his Chai Lifeline Family to his Leo Baeck school family. At school, he got involved in Project Give Back and raised funds and awareness for Chai Lifeline Canada.

David shared with us how important and valuable it was that he was surrounded by positivity. Chai Lifeline Canada did so many things to distract and ease the stress for him and his family through his cancer treatment. Looking back, David, who is now 18, shared advice for families facing a challenging medical condition. “Be open to trying something new. We are surrounded by a community who wants to help. You might be apprehensive of having someone 10 years older being friends with your young child but think of them as a friend who is there for them. They are the friends with the positive attitude they need to get them through their days and look forward to the future.”

By the time he started high school at William Lyon Mackenzie, David was healthy and balanced his academics and social life. He took opportunities to be involved in the community as an active member of BBYO, where he served on his chapter board as Vice President of Finance.

Though the last year and a half of high school was challenging through COVID, David continued to excel academically and earned himself a highly coveted spot in Western University’s IVEY Honours Business Administration. 

The IVEY Advance Early Opportunity admission requirements include a 90%+ average and demonstrated leadership in extracurricular activities, community involvement, and work experience. David spent the summer interning at a finance company and is looking forward to new academic challenges and life at university.

David had a final piece of advice to offer:

Things are going to be tough…just know that everyone is going through struggles and there are people that will help you through it. Know that in the future you will have the chance to give back. Don’t be afraid to accept help when you need it…and take opportunities to help out others when you can.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, David. 

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