We couldn’t say no to Rivky.
Last month Tantzers hosted a waterside event for families and children coping with critical illness. We rented a small boat, and the children lined up to take a short turn each. But the boat could only hold 10-15 people, and the line was long.
Rivky (name changed) waited patiently for her turn. Afterward, she turned to our founder, Zelig Friedman. “My birthday is in a month, and I want to celebrate it on a boat,” she said.
So, the next morning we booked a boat. Rivky has been bravely fighting serious illness for almost three years. Recently she had her second relapse. If a birthday party on a boat would make her happy, we were going to make it happen for her.
But we wanted more families to benefit, too. We found a boat big enough for a crowd and invited twenty other families. We picked the families that most needed a break, that spend days and nights without respite in sterile hospital wards. They would also relax and recharge on the boat.
And on Wednesday night, Rivky’s dream came true. One hundred twenty adults and children celebrated her birthday with a four-hour gala trip on the water. The food was straight out of a wedding shmorg: sushi station, carving station, smoothie station, dessert station, and, of course, a deluxe cake for the birthday girl. Mentalist Michael Kirschner wowed the crowd with his show. And everyone linked arms for a starlit kumsitz on the water.
But the best part was seeing the sparkle in the children’s eyes, especially Rivky. The children in our families carry a heavy burden of illness and worry. There’s no limit to what we’ll do to lighten that burden, even if only for a few magical hours.
In the words of just one of the families, “Thank you, Tanzters, for giving us an uplifting event with a beautiful boat ride. We have no words for how much we appreciate it.”
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