Trail-blazers aid Camp Simcha
CAMP SIMCHA chief executive Neville Goldschneider followed in the footsteps of a close relative when joining supporters and beneficiaries of the charity on a trek across the historic Coastal Freedom Trail, which raised £70,000.
The 72-kilometre route was one of the most travelled across the Pyrenees by those fleeing the Nazis.
Among the many who did was Joseph Segal, Mr Goldschneider’s father-in-law, who died three years ago.
Starting at Collioure in France and covering steep and rocky terrain, the group trekked to Cap de Creus in Spain, visiting war memorials along the route.
“Although I trained for it, nothing prepared me for the terrain we were covering,” Mr Goldschneider reflected. “Seven to eight hours of walking each day in 30-degree heat and clambering up and down over rocks. But the camaraderie was fantastic, as was the scenery. We struggled at points despite having all the right gear and support. It really brought home the immense journey my father-in-law and so many others made.”
He added that the group’s “minor suffering” paled in comparison to the issues confronting clients of Camp Simcha, which assists families of children with serious illness.
“While we were away, our services team were providing emergency support for one family dealing with a particularly tragic situation. I shared with the group some aspects of the support we were putting in place for all the family, support which is possible because of the funds they were raising.”
Other participants included Rina Stimler and her daughter Batya, 22, who were helped by the charity when Mrs Stimler’s son Pini was diagnosed with leukaemia 16 years ago. Since Pini’s recovery, the family has been heavily involved in helping the charity.
Mrs Stimler felt the trip was a metaphor for Camp Simcha’s work. “There were people from all walks of life and all degrees of religious observance.
“Following the trail during the war, people endured terrible hardship. But then they crossed the border to freedom. It felt like Camp Simcha taking people from a dark place into the light.
“It was wonderful to do this with Batya, who, as a child, was very affected by Pini’s illness. Now my other daughter Ariella has started volunteering at Keshet, Camp Simcha’s summer day scheme.”
A team group from the trek, Neville Goldschneider and Rina Stimler