On 8 March a group of eight riders, calling themselves Team Aaron, completed the Cape Cycle Tour to raise money for Aaron Lipschitz’ medical costs.
The group, comprising Rebbetzin Sara Wineberg, Rabbi Pini Hecht, Yehuda Hecht, Elenor Miller, Joseph Meltzer, Nissim Brett, Ronit Netter and Terry Deats, accumulated funds via a Back-a-Buddy page titled ‘Riding for Aaron’.
Toward the end of 2019, Rebbetzin Sara Wineberg, who first rode the Cycle Tour last year as a fundraiser for a new mikvah, came up with the idea to embark on the race as a way to contribute to Aaron’s ongoing medical care. Indeed, she said that her “initial idea was that if we could cover Aaron’s medical aid for the year, that would be amazing — and we did.”
Five-year-old Aaron Lipschitz is the only child in the country who has been diagnosed with Interleukin-12 Receptor Defect. This means that, as a result of the way in which the cells in his immune system interact, he cannot fight infections; there is no cure for such a condition. Additionally, Aaron cannot digest food without becoming very ill and receives sustenance through a MIC-KEY feeding port in his stomach.
In 2018, Aaron survived a bone marrow transplant — a risky procedure in that chemotherapy was required to destroy his original immune system. Despite the transplant, his immune system has not redeveloped as well as was hoped, and he needs weekly treatment at the hospital to boost it and to overcome potential infections. He still struggles to consume food, and a second diagnosis was found — this explains Aaron’s severe food allergy. Thus, despite Aaron’s beating the odds, he requires a substantial amount of ongoing medical intervention.
Indeed, once Rebbetzin Sara learnt how costly the various immuno-therapies and other medical costs required for Aaron were, she was inspired to help by raising enough money to cover medical aid for the year, which comes to R120 000. Even once the Cycle Tour had passed, people have continued to donate and, as of 12 March 2020, the total amount raised by Team Aaron stands at an amazing R128 555.
Three of the riders, Yehuda Hecht, Joseph Meltzer and Nissim Brett, are students at Cape Town Torah High and have been invaluable to the team. Rebbetzin Sara notes, “Three of our boys [from CTTH] were really keen to ride for the cause… they were phenomenal with raising funds and enthusiasm. Not only that, they really connected with Aaron; they made time to be with him, met up with him and really just enjoyed the whole experience of giving emotional support as well as financial support. The boys were incredible.”
For more information visit the family’s Facebook page – Save Aaron
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