Our Ladies Brunch heard an emotional speech yesterday from a grandma of one of the children we support.

Gloria Levene, whose grandson Joey has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy told over 180 guests at our Ladies Brunch at JW3: “As a Grandma, I suffer doubly. I see what my grandson goes through and what my children go through and its very painful to see, but Camp Simcha offers a medicine for that pain, they heal your soul –  it’s like being surrounded by a duvet of love and we are so grateful for all of that love and care they give every one of us.”

Guests had already heard from 13-year-old  Joey’s parents Tony and Tracy in the appeal film which helped the event raise £60,000 to support our essential work.

You can see the full film here

Gloria said: “When Joey is at a Camp Simcha retreat he’s on a level playing field, he’s not the boy with Duchenne or the boy in the wheelchair, he’s just Joey. They give each precious child a chance to shine, to be the best they can be, whatever challenges they are facing.

“I’ve been to retreat with Joey and I was blown away by what I saw, you don’t see poorly children, you see happy children, they take away sorrow and they offer you joy instead.”

You can see Gloria’s full speech here

Guests also heard from 17-year-old Yavneh College pupil Saskia Newman, who was supported by Camp Simcha ten years ago when she spent a period of six years going in and out of hospital with osteo-arthritis, following a Strep A infection which reached her hip.

“Camp Simcha’s amazing staff and volunteers were always in the background during this period, coming in to visit me and bringing some desperately needed periods of normality to my days,” said Saskia.

“They brought normal conversation to the situation; they were there to celebrate Jewish holidays with me, or bring games, not to talk about my pain or my treatments. When family and friends visited they wanted to ask how I was and talk about me being ill; Camp Simcha offered something different and that was just what I needed.”

Saskia was also able to relive a high moment among those dark days – with an opportunity to be reunited with LBC presenter and journalist Nick Ferrari who spoke at the brunch, and who she first met in 2009, when he presented her with a Camp Simcha Jewish Children of the Year award.

Saskia said that she would never forget meeting when she received the award and that it had meant the world to her.

Thanking Saskia for her kind words Nick said: “I cannot believe that was nearly ten years ago. I was going to say ‘My goodness’ but I should probably say ‘oy vey’!”

A huge thank you to our wonderful Ladies Brunch Committee, Belinda Glyn, Michal Herman, Victoria Joseph, Susan Menashe, Danielle Mevorah, Leanne Morris, Julie Pactor, Rachael Pollock, Alison Sonn and Livia Sugarman for all their hard work at putting on such a fabulous event.

You can see all of the pictures of the event here