Columnist

Limo rides for kids with cancer

 

bea.hines@gmail.com

Sometimes, we really do entertain angels unaware. Michael Fischer is one. Several years ago he came up with a way to bring a little hope to cancer-stricken children by providing limo rides for those whose parents didn't have a car, when it was time for then to take their cancer treatments. The idea is called Drops of Hope.

Fischer, who not only is the founder of the organization, but is head chauffeur, told me the idea for Drops of Hope came to him after he remembered that as a child, he had a friend who died of cancer.

"I also had relatives who died of cancer," he said. "Giving these kids a ride to the hospital in a kid-friendly limo — with games and snacks — is like a fantasy for them. Some of the children we transport would have to take public transportation if we didn't help out," he said. "And they can't afford to miss a treatment."

Everything was working well with Drops of Hope until last Christmas, when his only limo was stolen. Fischer said he had taken the 14-year-old limo in for repairs and the place he took it went out of business. He later found the limo, stripped, in an alley.

"Now," he said, "I pay limo companies to pick up the kids who need transportation to their treatment. But it's so expensive. It's like $100 for a few hours. And if a child goes for treatment in the morning, sometimes he doesn't finish until the afternoon. We have to wait for them. Many of these sick and terminally ill children, from low- to no-income families, take the bus by themselves to chemotherapy appointments. Drops of Hope provide this free service to and from the treatment sessions for children, who otherwise would miss immediate medical care because of a lack of transportation. We nicknamed our service, 'Hope on the Go,' because when the limo pulls up and you see the smile on the kids' faces, you know these kids really need a day of royal treatment."

Until he can get another limo, Fischer, who does litigation inspections for homeowners, pays the tab to rent limos from other companies. He is looking for a decent, used limo that he can fix up and get it "street safe."

The limo rides are not the only thing that Drops of Hope does for terminally ill children. They also do room makeovers, to help brighten the children's day.

If you know of someone who would like to help Fischer and his volunteers (nobody gets paid; the organization is operated solely by volunteers), you may call him at 954-428-4552.

Rabbi to talk about happiness

The community is invited to hear Rabbi Lazer Brody speak On "Sustenance, Health, Marriage and Children: It's Possible to Have it All," at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, at Syklake Synagogue, 1850 NE 183rd St. in North Miami Beach.

The Rabbi also will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 11, at Young Israel of Kendall, 7880 SW 112th St. His topic will be "The Garden of Gratitude: A Life Changing Approach to Happiness."

According to a press release, Brody is the "English voice of Israeli rabbi Rav Shalom Arush, and the English translator of the book, The Garden of Emuna and numerous other Rav Arush's works. Brody is also the host of his own radio show, Lazer Beams aired on Israel National Radio. He is known worldwide as a lecturer and author who travels the globe enlightening others about the life-changing benefits of Emuna.

Both events are free. To make reservations for the Skylake lecture, email: skylakes613@gmail.com. For more information on the lecture at Young Israel, call 305-244-6880 or email: zdevorah@yahoo.com .

New Unitarian church

Biscayne Unitarian, a new Unitarian Universalist religious community, will have its inaugural worship service at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Pelican Harbor Marina Conference Center, 1275 NE 79th St.

According to a press release from the church, the new religious community was established to serve residents along the Biscayne corridor of northeastern Miami-Dade, and will include monthly worship services that "give voice to liberal religious views and provide a spiritual space to meaningfully connect with welcoming, diverse, and open-minded individuals and families."

The worship service, to be led by the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Claus, minister of All Souls Miami UU of South Miami; will be followed by a social hour with refreshments.

Claus, a graduate of Union Theological Seminary (Affiliated with Columbia University) received his doctorate from Boston University. He is an associate member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association and has been a hostage negotiator. He presently teaches English Literature and Composition at Florida International University, and is the founder of the religious studies program at Miami Dade College Kendall campus.

The church plans to have first Sunday monthly worship services and will also host spiritual exercises — group activities at carious community locations that focus on living UU principles out in the world, on the third Sunday of the month. The first spiritual exercise is scheduled for Feb. 17, and will include a tour and volunteer opportunity at the Pelican Harbor Seabird Station. For details and more information call David Traupmanat 305-758-3067 or email him at: davidtraupman@comcast.net.

Grace Lutheran women make 150 quilts

Kudos to the ladies of Grace Lutheran's Quilting Group, led by Denise Gishler, for the 150 quilts they made during 2012. The quilts were dedicated during the 10 a.m. worship service last Sunday and will be sent to Lutheran World Relief to be distributed in areas of crisis throughout the world. The Miami Springs church will also send baby layettes, that will go to new mothers who may not even have the basic clothing necessities for their new babies.

In addition, the youth of the church are currently assembling personal-care kits for Lutheran World Relief to send to those recently displaced and are now homeless around the world.

Now, that's love in action.

Garage Sale at Palm Springs Methodist

It's time for the annual Winter Indoor Garage Sale at Palm Springs United Methodist Church, 5700 W. 12th Ave. in Hialeah. The sale will be on Friday and Saturday and also on Feb. 8 and 9 at the church, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be a variety of items to select from, including clothing, linens, records, videos, toys, small furniture, baby items, pet supplies, school and office supplies, craft supplies, golf clubs, luggage, lamps, pictures. collectables, books, holiday items and decorations.

Lunch and snacks will also be for sale. The money raised is used for church work and missions. For more information call 305-821-3232, 305-821-2073 or email the church at: office@palmspringsumc.com.

Episcopalians to hold mass for lawyers

The first Red Mass hosted by The Diocese of Southeast Florida will be at noon today at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 464 NE 16th St.

The Red Mass is a historical tradition within the church dating back to the thirteenth century, when it officially opened the term of the court for most European countries.

The celebrants, which included government officials, lawyers and judges, would proceed into a church clothed in red vestments or red garments, signifying the fire of the Holy Spirit's guidance to all who pursue justice in their daily lives.

The Red Mass is celebrated throughout the United States, to invoke god's blessing upon the members of the legal profession. All Episcopal lawyers ae invited to join the St. Ives Guild, created for attorneys who have a passion for providing assistance and representation on a pro-bono basis to those who have no access to legal representation.

For more information call the Archdeacon for Immigration and Social Justice at 3o5-373-0881.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email bea.hines@gmail.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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