Nearly 100 members of Chai Lifeline’s Young Leaders Initiative gathered under a starlit sky for an extraordinary evening of fun and inspiration at the home of Marilyn and Jaime Sohacheski in Beverly Hills. The annual End of Summer Soirée brings together couples and individuals in their 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s who seek to further Chai Lifeline’s ability to enhance the lives of children and families living with pediatric illness or loss in their homes.
The evening featured specially designed cocktails made with liquid nitrogen and fire and an exceptional dinner in the relaxed atmosphere of the Sohacheski’s beautiful garden. But the real attraction was Stephanie Diamond, who talked about how Chai Lifeline’s professionals and volunteers changed the life of her 15-year-old son, Benjamin.
Ms. Diamond recalled Benjamin’s hospitalization for complications of cystic fibrosis. In her words, she felt her world falling apart even as she tried to hold it together for Benjamin.
“Coffee, that’s what I needed more than anything,” Stefanie recalled. Like a genie, Chai Lifeline’s case manager was there with a hot, steaming cup. Since then, Chai Lifeline has been part of the family, a familiar presence when Benjamin was hospitalized and throughout the year. The Young Leaders, many who have visited Benjamin over the years, were visibly moved by their appreciation for their volunteer efforts.
Moshe Buchman, who served as the master of ceremonies for the evening, spoke personally about his experiences as a Young Leader. In addition to visiting sick children, he has brought his children to Chai Lifeline family events so they can see firsthand the impact of volunteer involvement. Ryan Hyman, Chai Lifeline’s West Coast Director of Development, discussed the growth of the Initiative since its inception a year ago both on the Leaders and Chai Lifeline’s families. The evening was capped off with a delicious dessert; many of the Young Leaders stayed to relax and socialize into the night.