By Yaakov (Jay) Radin
Executive Producer, Co-chairman, Shirei Achim Productions, Inc.
There is a family in the heart of Flatbush whose head of the household has been diagnosed and is now suffering severely from ALS. ALS, as defined by Yahoo is: “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a degenerative disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. A chronic disorder, it causes a loss of control of voluntary muscles. The nerves controlling speech, swallowing, and limb movements are often affected. Unfortunately, a cure has not yet been found for the disease. “ALS” is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, since the famed baseball player was diagnosed with the disease in 1939.”
To spare any possible embarrassment to this family, the organization has called itself, “Friends 4 ALS.” This 501(c) not-for-profit fund was set up specifically to raise money to help support this one family during this crisis. Their mission statement reads: “Friends 4 ALS is a fund that was started to help a family in the Flatbush community. A young father of five was diagnosed with the debilitating ALS disease, and is now stuck in a wheelchair unable to tend to his own daily needs, and certainly not to the needs of his family. We are a 501C non-for-profit organization and rely solely on donations to pay for the expenses of this family.” Especially since there are five children at home, there is tuition to be paid, a mortgage to be covered, phone, electric, gas, and utility bills that need to be paid monthly, Shabbos and weekday food that constantly need to be purchased; all this along with recurring medical treatments, constant care, nurse aides, ambulette trips to go to doctor appointments and to scheduled hospital visits, etc. All of these funds need to be raised, especially since neither parent can go to work! The father is paralyzed, and unable to move at all, while the mother spends all day taking care of the needs of her husband and children! To just barely partially support this family can cost close to $100,000 per year! Surely too much of an undertaking for one small tiny organization called “Friends 4 ALS.”
Seeing that they would never be able to raise these much needed funds without some serious outside help, they have decided to hold a fundraiser in the form of a concert. They have asked Shirei Achim Productions, Inc. to volunteer their services to produce the concert of the year! Shirei Achim has acquired the performing superstars of 8th Day, Pruz, Eitan Katz, and Psachya to perform at this event.
Now I know, it is difficult to come out to a concert on a Motzaei Shabbos. I have heard every excuse from “I have avos ubanim,” “I don’t want to get a babysitter.” etc. A better response would be, “We should enjoy being sameach with each other, together, at a concert at Brooklyn College on a Motzaei Shabbos, rather than home in a wheelchair.”
The performers and the sponsors are volunteering to help make a fantastic event for our community, and to help raise money that will be going directly to the family who so desperately needs it! Who can possibly turn down such of a double opportunity? Every dollar raised at this concert goes directly to tzedakah.
Please come out on this Motzaei Shabbos, November 24, to Brooklyn College at 8:00 p.m. to join in and enjoy the concert, and help raise money for “FRIENDS4ALS.”
Tickets will be available at the Brooklyn College box office gate right before the show. Tax deductible checks can be made out to Friends4ALS at the box office. If you wish to donate or purchase tickets via credit card before Shabbos, you may do so online at www.friends4als.org.
I hope to see everyone there, and in the zechus of our communities coming together to help sustain this incredible family during this terrible time, may we all be zocheh to never know of such tza’ar! May the family have a refuah and a yeshuah!