December 19, 2011
Parents of Disabled Children Need a Break
A former single mother of a special needs child raises money for disabled kids in Israel.
Faigie Grunberg was a single mother of two when Refua V’Chayim reached out to her and gave her disabled daughter a monthly Shabbaton – so that Grunberg herself could get a break from her 24/7 job of raising a quadriplegic child with cerebral palsy. When her daughter Daniella Meira was 7, she passed away 2 weeks after Chanukah. Grunberg now initiates a yearly fundraising campaign for Refua V’Chayim to hold a Shabbaton in Daniella’s memory.
“When you’re raising a disabled child, you don’t have a second to breathe,” Grunberg stated. “Your every moment is dedicated to making sure she’s alive, healthy and comfortable. When someone reaches out to you and helps ease the workload, it refreshes you so that you can keep going.”
Grunberg’s goal is to completely fund an extra Shabbaton for 50 children, which is slated for January 13/14. The total sum needed is 35,000 NIS, or around $9,000. Faigie hired professional staff and created a website, www.daniellameira.com, that enables people to donate. Refua V’Chayim is a registered Israeli charity; funds collected through the site go directly to Refua V’Chayim’s PayPal account. Grunberg is grateful for the nearly 15,000 NIS she has raised so far. The donations are coming in from all over the world, from Israel, the US, the UK and the Netherlands, to name a few.
Refua V’Chayim was chosen as Grunberg’s charity of choice because, she says, “they go above and beyond to make sure your child is getting full medical care and enjoys herself. They train volunteers for the long-haul, so that the kids have the same dedicated counselor that they develop a relationship with.” All of the children who benefit from Refua V’Chayim’s services get their own madricha for the weekend, and a group of friends they can look forward to seeing throughout the year. In addition to the Shabbatons, Rav Naftali Weinberger and his wife Ruchi, both very active in Refua V’Chayim, garnered funds to purchase Daniella her wheelchair – a 10,000 NIS gift that Grunberg could not afford on her own.
In 2008, Grunberg heard that Refua V’Chayim was forced to hold fewer Shabbatons due to lack of funds. “I had to do something,” Grunberg stated. “This time of year tends to be very dark for me, because the pain of losing Daniella comes up again. I thought to myself, I have to do something to bring light right now. Organizing this fundraiser for the past few years has brought real meaning to Chanukah for me.”