Children Helping Children | Teen Ink

Children Helping Children

December 11, 2007
By Anonymous

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny."

Those words by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. captured my imagination 8 years ago — they are a wakeup call for young people to enact a great vision of reciprocity and responsibility—a vision of caring. With dedication, purposeful and direct use of my talents, I learned that I could sound an alarm and cause people to pay attention to the plight of desperately ill children with neurological disease who need more than medication and proper hospital facilities — they need evidence that other young people are working on their behalf, uplifting the community through deeds, not words. I discovered that if I cared enough, I wouldn’t have to wait until medical school to make a difference in the lives of children in need; I could put my talents as a professional violinist to work now by performing benefit concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, in halls across the country and across the globe, and raise millions of dollars for the seriously ill and underserved populace of children. For me, “embracing the dream” requires my holding up a mirror to the “edifice” that is our health care system, to alert the medical community and our government officials to the need for advocacy and equality in health care treatment for the underprivileged and overburdened in our communities. From the time I was seven years old, “embracing the commitment to care” and ‘running with it’ became an important part of who I was. It is what led to my founding Children Helping Children which has burgeoned beyond my wildest dreams into a musical fundraising arm for the national medical community, and is now a center of great import in my life.
I have tried to be vocal about the things that matter to me. That has always been my way of caring. And so I have made it my life’s goal to raise funds for medical organizations, hospitals and cutting edge research targeting neurological disease, and simultaneously to inspire and empower young philanthropists and musicians to eradicate the neurological diseases of our time by presenting benefit “concerts for a cure” all across the globe—saving lives through music.
I spend many hours a month speaking out at medical conferences and in national media segments to provide visibility for medical organizations, for cutting edge research, and for the plight of desperately ill and disenfranchised children. My colleagues and I have spent many weekends performing room to room in hospitals after very full days at Juilliard. In my neuroscience internships at Stony Brook Medical Center and in the summers at Harvard Medical School’s MS Immunology Lab, with small steps each day I research for a key to a cure for Multiple Sclerosis to halt the suffering of these patients.
I remember a meeting I had when I was seven, with a world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Fred Epstein, that amounted to a personal epiphany for me. He took me on a tour of the pediatric ICU that exposed me for the first time to children who were suffering from incurable diseases. I left with a strong determination to bring them some measure of peace, temporal enjoyment, a little contagious enthusiasm, and a reminder of what’s outside that ICU door. Grave illness leads quickly to feelings of abandonment, and it is our instinctive compassion that must call us to direct action to help. How could we live with ourselves if we know we haven’t embraced a chance to “give back” in whatever capacity we’re capable? And so, it was then that I developed and founded Children Helping Children—to embrace the call, to show that I care. Now, every time Children Helping Children produces a concert for a cure, funds are raised so that lives can be changed. Young artists are beginning to realize that there has to be some greater purpose to music, otherwise young performers will have made only a dent in the future of humankind. Extraordinary things can happen if the arts and medicine join forces internationally. A life can be saved somewhere in the world with the purchase of tickets at a “Concert for a Cure,” cutting edge research funded, musical therapy services supplied, medical equipment purchased, home-care services provided. In this way, the young entrepreneurial philanthropists of our generation along with the great prodigies of our time can come together and create a “youthquake:” changes in the field of healthcare that we only dream about.

I have a mission to demonstrate that the ‘humanity’ of charitable works is not something reserved for adulthood. The human condition seems to be to wait and hope for the best—my position is to be ravenous for solutions. Through my advocacy in the fields of medicine and music, I attempt to say: I am sixteen years old and I am responsible for my peers—what happens to one of us affects us all. I expect I’ve only just begun to learn how to care

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