Dozens of schoolchildren from North London practised their pivoting and shooting skills to raise money for Camp Simcha at a charity netball tournament on Sunday.
The event was organised by 11-year-old Kerem pupil Katie Pollock and family, who were supported by the charity for four years after her brother Adam was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in 2010.
Katie and Adam, now 12, are celebrating their bnei mtizvot next year and they have both planned to fundraise for Camp Simcha, which supports families coping with serious childhood illness.
For the netball tournament, Katie managed to enlist around 70 pupils from Immanuel College, Kerem, Brooklands, Channing, JFS, Archer Academy, Matilda Marks Kennedy, Morasha and Haberdashers Aske’s schools to make up seven teams for the tournament at Copthall in Mill Hill.
Katie said: ‘I have such special memories of what Camp Simcha did for my family when my brother Adam had leukaemia. Not only did we have a brilliant time on the Camp Simcha retreats but they provided my brothers and I with a ‘Big Sister’ and ‘Big Brother’ volunteer, both of whom came along to support the netball rally – with my Big Sister Susie being one of the umpires.
‘Camp Simcha made a real difference to our family – it brought fun into our lives when we thought nothing could really be fun again and thanks to them that’s what I remember about Adam’s illness.’
Together with a sale of cakes, made by family friend Izzy Pactor, and a raffle, the day raised nearly £1,000.
Katie’s mum Rachael said not only had they wanted to raise funds and awareness, they had also wanted to establish an event which could be a model for an annual fundraising activity for bar and bat mitzvah students.
She added: ‘Once Adam’s treatment finished our psychological recovery began and Camp Simcha were there for us every step of the way. Today the Camp Simcha people who supported us are still very much a part of our lives. Big Brother James is now Adam’s bar mitzvah teacher, Big Sister Susie was here today helping Katie and our Family Liaison Officer Mandy is now a friend. We would do anything to help Camp Simcha.’
Camp Simcha chief executive Neville Goldschneider said: ‘We are so grateful for the amount of thought and effort that Katie, her mum Rachael – and the whole family – put into making this wonderful netball tournament such a big success. Not only do the funds they raised help us to continue providing practical and emotional support to families who need us, it has also helped spread the word about what we do so that we continue to keep reaching more and more families to make the vital difference.