Avi Nessim is a 14-year-old freshman at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School. However, he is not a typical teenager. Nessim has been fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for the past five years, each year surpassing the amount of money raised in the prior year. Nessim was selected as one of just 14 Long Island students to take part in LLS’s Student of the Year campaign due to his charitable efforts. The campaign consists of a six-week fundraiser that runs through March 23. At that time, the student who has raised the most money will be designated Student of the Year and receive a $2,500 scholarship to the college of his or her choice.
The ninth grader’s efforts began in 2011 as a student at The Brandeis School in Lawrence, where he was the top fundraiser for the school in the LLS Pennies for Patients Program. Charity is especially important to Nessim because he fundraises in memory of his grandfather, Abraham, who he is named after. Abraham, an immigrant from Iraq, passed away from leukemia when he was only 53 years old in 1977 when chances of survival were minimal. Thanks to LLS’ contributions to blood cancer research, the likelihood of recovery is now great. The charity’s advancements over the years have helped the blood cancer survival rate to quadruple. Donations will enable LLS to continue the progress of finding treatments for this disease.
Although the young teenager never had the opportunity to meet his grandfather, Nessim knows that he is proud of him. Nessim relishes the feeling of knowing that he is contributing to this special cause by spreading awareness of the research developments for blood cancers and raising money to support them.
“No matter how much money you raise, you are still making a difference in other people’s lives and helping them,” said the young humanitarian.
Regardless of who wins the scholarship, Nessim already feels like a champion because he is helping to make a difference in honor of his grandfather. Every donation counts and is appreciated. A contribution of $50 helps fund LLS educational booklets for health-care providers and their patients. A $2,500 donation can provide a year of copay assistance to an eligible blood cancer patient.
On Nessim’s fundraising page, he asks that people who wish to help his cause either donate or share his message on social media. He also notes that those interested can find out whether their employer offers programs for matching donations in order to further boost funding for this great organization.
When not spending time trying to find a cure for cancer, Nessim is a typical young boy. He plays basketball, enjoys video games and is involved in his synagogue, the Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach.
He offers this advice to other teenagers interested in fundraising: “Choose a charity that is close to your heart; it will be a more meaningful experience for you and you will be passionate about it.”
The teenager has seen how LLS puts smiles on people’s faces, be it by helping with medical expenses or through its research findings.
“I have also learned that we live in a world where people are very generous, whether through their kind, supportive words or their donations,” said Nessim. “I am very appreciative of each and every donation I receive and know that I am helping to kick cancer to the curb.”
To assist Nessim with his efforts to brighten others days and brings doctors a step further to finding a cure for leukemia and lymphoma, visit http://events.lls.org/pages/li/longislandSOY2017/anessim.