For the second year, Hebrew Academy marked World Prematurity Day on November 17 with a Purple for Preemies fundraising initiative in support of the Jewish General Hospital Auxiliary’s Tiny Miracle Fund.

Grade 11 students Elisheva Eisenberg, Janna Sternthal and Eliana Rohr, as well as the Grade 6 Bat Mitzvah girls, spearheaded efforts in both the High School and Elementary to raise awareness and money for the purchase of vital, life-sustaining equipment for premature infants.  Students, faculty and staff donned purple accessories including scarves, tights, kippot, t-shirts and hair elastics in exchange for a toonie donation. Preemie hospital bracelets and purple-frosted cupcakes were also sold over a couple of days in what has become a meaningful cause for Hebrew Academy – home to a number of students who were preemies.

Born eight weeks early, Grade 2B student Shalev Shear Yaacov Fagen is among them. Shalev shared his story this week in a moving address to High School students and peers in Grades 1 to 3 (which he delivered via the Elementary School intercom!). Following is a copy of his speech:

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Shalev.  I was born early. Another way to say it is premature. My doctor was Dr. Kovacs. He is a doctor at the Jewish General Hospital where I was born, 8 weeks too soon.  Clearly I was so excited to meet my mom and friends! I was born too early to have a Brit Milah on the eighth day of my life. I stayed in the incubator for over three weeks until I was five pounds and grew big and strong. Once I was able to go home with my mommy I was then allowed to have my Brit Milah and be named Shalev Shear Yaacov.  I had to stay in my house for one year to make sure I didn’t get sick. Whoever came to visit had to wash their hands before coming in the house. 

World Prematurity Day is November 17th. It is to teach people about preemies, how to help them grow and to raise money to have the right incubators.  For World Prematurity Day we wear purple to support preemies and their families. 

My birthday is June 23, 2008 and I was supposed to be born August 8, 2008. I want to thank the Bat Mitzvah group for choosing this cause, the High School students for being involved, and all of Hebrew Academy for giving Tzedakah.  It is very close to me.

Now, as you can see, I became mature!

Please click here for more photos.

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