Camp Simcha to aid more sick children


Plans to expand the work of children's charity Camp Simcha were revealed at its 20th anniversary dinner on Sunday, which raised a record £1.7 million.

Addressing the 1,100 guests at Grosvenor House in London's West End, Camp Simcha chief executive, Neville Goldschneider, said that in addition to working with children with life-threatening illness and their families, the charity would also now support children with long-term health problems.

"It has always been an ambition to help children with illness. We are now able to offer our support even further to those with children who have life-changing illness, such as type-1 diabetes or serious genetic disorders.

"They might not be terminal but their lives are changed and they have always needed the support of a charity like ours. We are glad we can welcome them into our family."

A film shown during the evening offered insight into the support the extended service would provide. It featured north Londoners Aimee and Gareth Kobrin and their three children. The Kobrins' nine-month-old son Aaron has the rare genetic condition Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome.

Mr Kobrin had assumed that Aaron's condition fell outside of Camp Simcha's remit. "So when we realised they were going in this new direction, we were exceptionally grateful."

His wife was "anxious" about what the future held for Aaron. "Never in a million years did I ever think I would be on the receiving side of a charity like this. It was hard to admit I need help."

Shadow Health Minister Luciana Berger was moved to hear "so many stories of kindness and compassion.

"Recently I was invited to learn more about the charity and I came away inspired and full of admiration for the astonishing work this organisation does."

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer and actress Tracy-Ann Oberman were also among the guests.

LBC-radio presenter Nick Ferrari hosted a silent auction of 47 lots, which raised £140,000 towards the proceeds. Among items up for grabs were a luxury holiday in Grenada, a dinner hosted by Craig David in Miami, a tea with Leo Sayer at the Dorchester and a meal for eight catered by Tony Page.

The money raised will go towards Camp Simcha's £3 million running costs over the next two years, which includes the additional service.

Counting siblings, the charity supports more than 1,000 children across the country.

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