When twelve year old Ben Brody of Englewood, NJ crossed the finish line of the Celebrate Israel Run, he knew that the race to save lives had just begun. A young and aspiring Bar Mitzvah student, Ben is a unique individual who uses his energy and free-willed spirit to instill strength in his community. For months, Ben and his father Todd trained tirelessly in preparation for the run and on Sunday June 3rd, they participated in the Celebrate Israel Run as a part of the festivities held on Celebrate Israel Day in New York City.

The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation holds a strong value to the Brody family. Ellen Brody, mother of Ben and member of the Board of Directors for Gift of Life, has known the Feinberg family for over forty years. It has been one of her main responsibilities to instill the values of pikuach nefesh (saving a life) into her children. The family’s close attachment to Jay fueled this collective commitment to raise awareness and funds for Gift of Life. His participation in the Celebrate Israel Run marks the beginning of a life-long commitment to the Gift of Life. Ben is determined to join Gift of Life’s registry, so he can have the opportunity to give someone a second chance at life.

Participating in the Celebrate Israel Run was more than a physical activity for Ben. It allowed him to practice the importance of giving of oneself. Ben has been educated and impacted greatly by his project: “This experience has helped me understand the importance of giving tzedakah.” Together, Ben and Todd completed a strenuous activity and raised more than $2,400 for donor kits to be processed, potentially saving someone’s life. 

As a young B’nai mitzvah, Ben is a huge advocate for Gift of Life and encourages other prospective Bar and Bat Mitzvah students to get involved with the organization. “Gift of Life is a great organization for many reasons, not only because they save lives,” said Ben. Educating and soliciting funds from his friends, families, and supporters was simple and allowed him to focus his concentration on preparing his body for the running course. “The website is a phenomenal tool. You can literally track the lives we save because of my efforts,” said Ben.

His commitment to Gift of Life will not stop here. “I will stay involved in Gift of Life forever,” said Ben. “Even though I am becoming a man at my Bar Mitzvah, I am still not old enough to donate stem cells,” he said. Ben hopes to attend the Annual Partners for Life Gala in the upcoming year. His participation in the Celebrate Israel Run marks the beginning of a life-long commitment to the Gift of Life. Ben is determined to join Gift of Life’s registry, so he can have the opportunity to give someone the gift of life.

Gift of Life offers a multitude of opportunities for children and teenagers. To learn more about our Mitzvah programs and other projects, visit Gift of Life’s website. Remember, you have the power to save a life.

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