Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bekah Redwine's "Bear Mitzvah" Project

Julia Redwine sent me an email with this message: "I wanted to share a special story that I thought may warm your readers' hearts."

A year ago July, a very special family friend of ours, seven year old Alexandra Pacher, lost her battle with leukemia. As one can only imagine, this was extremely heart breaking for Alexandra's family, friends, and our Franklin, MA community where Alexandra, her parents and dog Franklin lived.

Our daughter Rebekah was one who was very much affected by Alexandra's passing. Bekah and Alexandra were not close friends but had spent some time together over the years and for Bekah, it was just unfathomable that anyone so young would not only have cancer, but worse, pass away from such an unfair and cruel disease. Soon after Alexandra's passing, Bekah asked in honor of her own Bat Mitzvah which was coming the following June (June 22, 2013) if she could take on a special project in memory of Alexandra. At our temple, a large "mitzvah" project is not required for preparation of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah but Bekah wanted to do this in addition to the responsibilities that were actually required at our synagogue leading up to her special day - Alexandra's passing really affected her.

Bekah decided to sew 54 bears (18 in the Jewish religion is "chai" and means life - so triple chai is 54) in Alexandra's memory. Bekah spent the next 11 months sewing, stuffing and adding eyes, noses and bows to these cuddly critters. Alexandra's favorite colors were pink and blue so Bekah decided to tie these colored ribbons around the bears necks so that they can be given to boys and girls alike. 
Yesterday Bekah, along with Alexandra's mother, Tamara Pacher brought the 54 bears to the MGH clinic where Alexandra sadly spent a lot of time receiving treatments. Bekah and Tamara visited one of the pediatric inpatient floor as well to continue handing out these special bears. Next year our family is planning a trip to Israel and Bekah's intention is to sew and stuff an additional 54 bears over the next year and deliver them to a hospital there as well. 
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month so not only does Bekah hope that these bears bring some comfort to the children at MGH and want them to know she is thinking of them, but to also spread the word of how important it is to continue the commitment to fighting childhood cancer.

The story aired on Channel 7 and can be viewed here

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