Teenage girls have their share of hopes, fears, and insecurities. 15-year-old Leah Schwartz of Kiryat Sefer, however, is living a different level of suffering.
Born with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition which keeps her from being able to control her muscles, Leah’s life is a blur of chronic pain and hospital visits. Confined to a wheelchair, she is unable to partake in many parts of “normal” life. It is unclear which suffering is greater: The pain of her illness, or the struggles of being wheelchair-bound during such a sensitive time in life.
Family and friends have done their best to make Leah feel optimistic: They even decorated her wheelchair with pink stickers. There is only one thing, however, that could make her truly happy. Doctors have recommended that she fly to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital to undergo an essential surgery which would alleviate much of her pain and would allow her what she never thought possible: to walk like a normal girl.
It is a dream come true for the 15-year-old. The procedure, however, is just out of reach at an overwhelming cost of $80,000. The Schwartz family lives simply, and could not possibly afford such a sum. Leah, however, has not given up: A fundraising page has been started in hopes of getting the surgery. She believes that if money alone is the obstacle keeping her from walking, she must try her best to raise it.
Deemed by some as “Project Leah,” donations collected will go toward flying Leah to America for the life-changing surgery. Each passing day is a challenge for this sweet young girl, whose parents say that she is a “special neshama” who has “suffered too much for a girl her age.” Together, donors have the opportunity to put a smile on her face, and change her life forever.