On July 22nd 2016, 22 year old Zac Kanter ended a 100 week challenge to grow his hair and donate it to Zichron Menachem. In anticipation of the big snip, Zak teamed up with Shaare Zedek UK to fundraise for a £18,000 dialysis machine on behalf of the Wilf Children’s Hospital at Shaare Zedek Medical Centre Jerusalem.

In July 2014, Zak was a Madrich at camp, when one of his campers was undergoing chemotherapy for leukaemia. When he heard the child had been bullied at school for losing his hair, he was devastated and thought about what he could do to give strength to his camper during treatment.

“Two years of abuse, mockery, embarrassment and a truckload of conditioner later, it is with great pleasure and humility that I am able to give my hair to someone who needs it more than I do. These kids are made of really tough stuff and although the hair loss is medically only a small part of the condition, being able to give a girl the strength to look in the mirror and see a small fraction of her former self plays a big role in continuing the fight to overcome. For many years I’ve had the pleasure of working with organisations in Israel that support sick children and their families. The kids themselves have a whole range of illnesses from cancers to rare genetic conditions; they live all over Israel and are from a diverse range of backgrounds. The one thing they have in common is the world-class medical care that they receive from the Wilf Children’s Hospital at Shaare Zedek. Shaare Zedek offers all its patients a superb standard of care with cutting-edge clinical treatment”

Zak’s target was £18,000 for a dialysis machine for The Kennedy Leigh Family Centre for Paediatric Kidney Diseases which he smashed and is currently standing at over £20,000 raised. Our Paediatric nephrology facility homes children who suffer from chronic renal failure and are waiting for transplants. Children treated require 2½ – 4 hour dialysis sessions up to five times a week, making the Unit a “second home” for children, family and staff. Since more than 50% of the patients are from the Arab sector, many friendships formed cut across religious and ethnic divides, making the department a flagship for coexistence and understanding.

“What makes Shaare Zedek so unique in my eyes is the love, care and dedication they give to their patients – and to kids in particular. Dream doctors and clowns are able to give sick children something that medicine can’t buy – a large dose of happiness, a surge of love and a smile that will light up a room. They run around the wards spreading joy and positivity to patients and their families. This gives kids the power to battle illness with something much stronger than conventional medicine alone can provide. I see Jerusalem as my home and Shaare Zedek is an integral part of maintaining that home for us all.