Week of Aug. 6, 2008

JOSHUA STERN, TEMPLE ISRAEL

Friends of Kids with Cancer was the organization that Joshua, a student at Ladue Middle School, chose for his mitzvah project. He chose this charity because of his family’s involvement. It all started when one of his cousins was diagnosed with leukemia when she was only three years old. Peter A. Cohen, Joshua’s grandfather, currently serves as president of Friends of Kids with Cancer.

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Last fall, Joshua, son of Martina and Jeffrey Stern, got very involved with Friends of Kids with Cancer. He volunteered at several of their fundraisers including their biggest event of the year; the Fashion Show, where he sold raffle tickets. Joshua also organized a (grand)father-son ping-pong tournament and collected gift cards of all kinds for the teenage cancer patients.

The Ping-Pong tournament was held to raise money — or rather specifically gift cards for teens with cancer who are being helped by Friends of Kids with Cancer. “Gift cards to anything — movies, restaurants, iTunes, anything that would put a smile on a sick teen’s face,” said Josh’s mother. It was a (grand)father-son tournament and the winners got tickets to a Cardinals game which were generously donated by Josh’s father.

Joshua also donated a portion of his bar mitzvah gift money to Friends of Kids with Cancer. He said, “It was a good feeling to see sick children have fun at the different events when they won prizes and they had huge smiles on their faces. I could see that at least for that time they forgot about being sick and what they have to endure during treatment. It obviously was a good distraction not only for the patients, but for their families as well. I realized how lucky I am and how quickly sometimes things can change for the worse. I hope other bar and bat mitzvahs will volunteer for this organization.”

Friends of Kids with Cancer is devoted to enriching the daily lives of children undergoing treatment for cancer and blood- related diseases.

If you would like to make a donation in Josh’s honor and learn more about Friends of Kids with Cancer, please visit their Web site at: www.friendsofkids.com. Or contact Josh’s grandfather, Peter Cohen at 314-650-7700 or the Executive Director, Judy Ciapciak, at 314-275-7440. Friends is always looking for volunteers; whether you give of your time or gifts for kids and their families in the form of anything that will make treatment days easier on the patients and their families.

If you would like to feature your child’s mitzvah project in the “Mitzvot from the Heart” page, please contact Elise Krug at the Jewish Light by calling 314-743-3671 or by email at: [email protected]