My name is Talah and I would like to tell you a story about my best friend, Superman Sammy. When I was six years old, Sammy was diagnosed with Leukemia. The hospital was extremely overwhelming for me and it was hard to visit at such a young age. Instead, I mostly visited Sammy at the Ronald McDonald house where we played in the playroom. One time, we even spent the day having a behind the scenes tour at the Milwaukee Zoo. Sadly, Sammy passed away when we were just eight years old in 2013.
The summer before Sammy passed away, I went to my first summer at camp OSRUI. Sammy and I would have gone to camp together probably until we couldn’t any more. We would have developed our Jewish identities alongside one another, but instead I shape mine in honor of him as well as mindfully think of ways to incorporate his memory and my Jewish identity in my everyday life. Sammy and I have birthdays a couple days apart and when it came time for my Bat Mitzvah, I knew that reading Torah and celebrating in honor of him was a meaningful way for me to integrate his memory into a celebration we would have shared.
In memory of Sammy, I am fundraising for the 2021 Students of the Year program for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. With my team, I hope to raise at least $20,000 during this seven week competition amongst high schoolers around the country. Through fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, there is increasing hope that these cancer diagnoses no longer become fatal.
Every three minutes, somebody in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Whether that cancer is Leukemia, Lymphoma, or Myeloma, every patient who receives a cancer diagnosis knows that his or her life is forever changed. Since 2017, LLS has helped advance fifty-eight of the sixty-eight blood cancer treatment options approved by the FDA and can continue to advance these treatments through donations made by you.
To donate to my campaign please visit: bit.ly/talahlls.
Talah is a freshman at Highland Park High school where she plays field hockey and is an active member in both Rotary Interact and her school’s Medical Education club. She spends her summers developing her Jewish identity and cultivating a passion for Tikkun Olam at camp OSRUI. Talah’s love for volunteering and making the world a better place started when she was a leader for her middle school’s service club and when she participated in a SaLT Student Travel trip to Orlando serving at the Give Kids the World Village.