EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW & PHOTOS: Meet Chris Fields. Chris is a young man from the Poconos, Pennsylvania, who lost his 15 month old daughter to a serious illness in August of 2004. Since then, Chris has made it his mission to help the children of Chai Lifeline by bringing them
toys and games each Chanukah.
It started back in May of 2004 in a hallway at the CHOP Hospital in Philadelphia, where the crying Jody – the mother of young Ella Fields A’H – bumped into the director of Chai Lifeline of Lakewood, Rabbi Sruli Fried.
Mrs. Fields explained how her young baby, a twin, was seriously ill, and asked Rabbi Fried if he would recite a prayer for her.
A few months later however, Ella A’H succumbed to her illness and passed away.
Chris tells TLS how Rabbi Fried arranged a funeral and burial for the young girl at a Jewish cemetery in Florida, at no cost to the family.
However, the relationship between the Field’s family and Chai Lifeline didn’t end there.
Ella’s twin sister began attending Camp Simcha and the bond between the Fields’ and Chai Lifeline grew even stronger from there.
Chris knew he just had to give back, and that’s when he came up with the idea of a toy drive in memory of Ella.
Chris began receiving toy donations from local retailers and wholesalers, in order to cheer up other sick children who may not have long to enjoy them.
The first year, Chris put together two boxes of toys and drove down to Lakewood to deliver them to Chai Lifeline.
Last year, it was ten boxes.
This evening, Chris pulled up to Chai Lifeline’s Lakewood Headquarters with his pick-up truck loaded with thirty large boxes stuffed with toys, dolls, stuffed animals, games and more, all sealed with a picture of his loving Ella A’H to be distributed to ill children over Chanukah.
“My wife wishes we could just win $200 Billion dollars in a Powerball so we can just open a business and do nothing but do toys for you guys”, says Chris. “One of these days we’re going to win it and your’e going to have more toys than you can imagine”, he says.
But it isn’t just a one time thing for Chris, he wants to make it his life’s goal and passion.
“My goal is to buy my own tractor trailer, custom built, and use it strictly for the Chanukah toy drive for Chai Lifeline”, Chris says. “The Chai Lifeline organization has been so wonderful”. “The abilities that they have to make children’s lives so much better, and they’re families too”. “Because it’s a rough time – everybody knows that”. “It’s just wonderful”. “Can’t say enough about it”, Chris says.
At Chai Lifeline, they are all in awe of the Fields family.
“Its truly incredible how the Field family has taken the most difficult challenge any parent can face, of losing a child, and turn it into an inspiration of helping others in similar situations”, says Rabbi Sruli Fried, the Director of Chai Lifeline of Lakewood. “It’s truly amazing”.
May this toy drive be a Z’chus and Aliya for Ella A’H.