VIDEO: Limo Escort by the Lakewood Police Chief kicks off Double Celebration at Chai Lifeline’s Drop-in Center

By T.H. When Hershey peered out his window this morning, the grey storm clouds reflected his mood. The side effects of his medicine combined with the lengthy hospital stay had done their job in flushing the spirit of the young and otherwise active 8-year-old boy. In bed and feeling down, the bleakness of another day spent in the company of illness lay before him.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. “Who can that be?” asked his father.

“I don’t want to see anyone now,” cried Hershey. “I’m not feeling well.”

The door opened, and in walked the Chief of Police Greg Meyer, with an entourage of officers. “Hello Hershey! We are here to take you somewhere special!”

A surprised Hershey glanced at the door to see over 20 familiar faces- his Chai Lifeline chevrah! Suddenly, Hershey noticed his friend, Shloime, whom he met at the Chai Lifeline retreat earlier this year, who also takes special medicine, and who shares so many similarities to him, including a birthday.

The room that just moments ago felt bleak and gloomy, was filled with cheerful singing and dancing, “Happy birthday Hershey and Shloime! We are going to the Chai Lifeline Drop-in Center for a big birthday bash!”

Before they knew it, the boys and volunteers were made comfortable in a gleaming white limousine, led by a full police escort! Upon arrival at Chai Lifeline, they were greeted by a gorgeous display of glowing color and lights in the main game room. With musicians and singers, lively dancing, and a piñata loaded with goodies, the two young warriors radiated excitement and joy. They each received a personalized birthday cake, and gave ‘shiraim’ to the crowd.

Rabbi Hershey Katz, Director of Achim B’yachad, a division of Chai Lifeline, commented, “Although many counselors traveled far, and due to unexpected hospitalization, this party was pushed off twice, it was worth all the effort to be here right now at this moment. More than bringing joy, it’s bringing companionship and belonging. These volunteers are Hershey’s and Shloime’s big brothers, their counselors and even their chavrusahs. Many times, children that are ill can’t go to school and be around children, so we try to fill that void.”

The boys were treated to a special video message from their favorite singers, wishing them a speedy recovery and a hartzege mazel tov! Of course, the birthday boys were allowed to ‘shop’ in Chai Lifeline’s ‘toy store’ and went home with their favorite toy. On this gloomy day, bonds were strengthened, hearts were warmed, and spirits soared!

Chai Lifeline thanks all the dedicated, energetic volunteers who participated in this meaningful celebration.

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