Why My Family Helps Levine Children’s Hospital on Mitzvah Day by Michelle Siegel

My niece Catherine was born in November 2012 with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). We experienced the tremendous strain a child’s medical condition can take on a family. We watched as my brother and sister-in-law spent weeks at a time with her in the hospital. We witnessed doctors, nurses, therapists, and other medical personnel work with Catherine to repair her heart and maximize her quality of life. Throughout Catherine’s short life of only 18 months, we saw the positive impact of a community coming together to support her and her parents.

After joining Temple Beth El in the fall of 2014, my family and I soon learned about the massive community-wide event called Mitzvah Day. There was a need for someone to help lead the Levine Children’s Hospital project and I immediately volunteered, still grieving and looking for a meaningful way to help other families that were dealing with medical issues and extended hospital stays. What better way than to give back to the same community that just did so much for my niece?

This is the 5th year my family and I will be leading the LCH project and it’s something we look forward to annually. We love the sense of community as we get together with old friends and meet new ones with the common purpose of Tikkun Olam. It’s a joy to see adults and children of all ages creating bags of arts & crafts the kids can use to keep busy while in the hospital. And it’s a great feeling to know that a child’s day may get just a little brighter when they see the goodies. By participating in Mitzvah Day, my family and I are doing our small part to help other families like Catherine’s, as we continue to keep her memory alive.

Michelle is a child & family therapist who loves spending time with her husband Andy, daughters Shayla & Jocelyn, and dog Zoey.