Chores-For-Charity was started by Ilana Rothbein, when she was a high school student, to
create awareness about epilepsy and raise money for epilepsy research as her older brother
Paul was struggling with seizures. When Paul's medical condition seemed hopeless, his
parents sought the help of Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a world renowned neurologist and Director of
the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Medical Center. Finally, with the help of Dr. Devinsky,
Paul was able to get his epilepsy under control and has been seizure free for five years.
As a tribute to Dr. Devinsky and her brother, Paul, Ilana wanted to donate money for epilepsy
research at NYU Medical Center through their non-profit organization, Finding a Cure for Epilepsy
and Seizures (FACES). She set aside 45 hours of her babysitting earnings and donated almost
$500 to FACES. Ilana then developed the Chores-For-Charity website and program to open a new
avenue of private donations by encouraging high school students to become philanthropic by
donating a small amount of their part-time earnings as an alternative way to earn community service
Almost three million people in the United States and fifty million people worldwide have epilepsy,
a neurological disorder characterized by seizures. A seizure is a brief electrical disturbance
in the brain that causes a change in awareness, movement and/or behavior. While most people
associate epilepsy with gran mal seizures, where the person loses consciousness and falls to
the ground shaking violently, there are more than twenty different types of seizures. Some
seizures are hardly noticable, while others are totally disabling.
*Up to 5% of the world’s population may have a single seizure at some time in their lives.
*Children and adolescents are more likely to have epilepsy of unknown or genetic origin.
*Brain injury or infection can cause epilepsy at any age.
*Recent studies show that up to 70% of children and adults with newly diagnosed epilepsy
can be successfully treated.
*About 10% of children with epilepsy have seizures that do not respond to treatment.
*the proportion of adults is higher, up to 15%.
Source: World Health Organization
Severe head injury is the most common known cause of epilepsy in young adults.
There have been many famous people throughout history who had epilepsy
including Vincent Van Gogh, Julius Caesar, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens,
Agatha Christie and Napolean Bonaparte.
Life for people who are living with uncontrolled seizures can be very diffficult as they never
know when they will have a seizure. They can sustain serious injuries during a seizure
from falls or having someone put a spoon in their mouth during a seizure. Nothing should
be put in the mouth of someone having a seizure as they might choke.
With the advancement of medicine, science and technology, there have been tremendous
improvements in the treatment of seizures. Unfortunately, epilepsy research doesn't receive
its fair share of federal funding so private donations are critical to continue to improve treatment
and, hopefully, find a cure for this disorder in the future.
What is ALS? Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron disease, first described in 1869 by the noted French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot. Although what causes ALS is not completely understood, the last decade has brought a wealth of new scientific understanding about the disease that provides hope for the future.
Lou Gehrig first brought national and international attention to the disease in 1939 when he abruptly retired from baseball after being diagnosed with ALS. Most commonly, the disease strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. ALS has cut short the lives of other such notable Americans as Senator Jacob Javits, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Actor Michael Zaslow, creator of Sesame StreetJon Stone, Jazz Legend Charles Mingus and photographer Eddie Adams.
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that usually attacks both upper and lower motor neurons and causes degeneration throughout the brain and spinal cord. A common first symptom is a painless weakness in a hand, foot, arm or leg, which occurs in more than half of all cases. Other early symptoms include speech, swallowing or walking difficulty.
The ALS Association symbolizes the hopes of people everywhere that Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis will one day be a disease of the past - relegated to historical status, studied
in medical textbooks, conquered by the dedication of thousands who have worked ceaselessly to understand and eradicate this perplexing killer.
Until that day comes, The ALS Association relentlessly pursues its mission to help people
living with ALS and to leave no stone unturned in search for the cure of the progressive
neurodegenerative disease that took the life and name of Baseball Legend Lou Gehrig.
As the only not-for-profit voluntary health agency dedicated solely to the fight against ALS,
the ALS Association directs the largest privately-funded research enterprise engaged to
uncover the mystery of a disease that affects as many as 30,000 annually. With more than
5,600 people diagnosed each year - an average of 15 new cases each day - our mission is
The search for answers knows no bounds. The ALS Association's far-reaching efforts extend
to Capitol Hill and some of the world's finest research laboratories. They have awarded nearly
$27 million since 1991 for scientific and clinical management research. They have also brought the ALS community the historic Medicare waiver of the 24-month waiting period and a 100% increase in funding since our advocacy campaign began.
But nowhere does this battle reach deepest than in their work with ALS patients and their families.
The ALS Association embraces thousands of those stricken with the disease with the world's most
comprehensive program of care and services. Their nation-wide network of chapters coordinates
services with care and compassion - making a difference in the lives of people with Lou Gehrig's disease. The hallmark of quality is exemplified in centers and clinics that deliver advanced care and
meet The ALS Association's rigorous criteria for certification.
The Association’s accomplishments are made possible by the generosity of others. From the smallest
donation to the largest gift, donors touch the ALS community with hope for the future. This terrible
disease knows no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. It can strike anyone at any time. Despite the mysterious nature of ALS, breathtaking advances in science, medicine and technology are shaping a future of unparalleled hope for those with ALS. The ALS Association is at the forefront in this new world, encouraging young scientists to combine new thinking with these advances to unlock the mysteries of ALS - to push the envelope in therapy and scientific research. Every 90 minutes,an American
dies of ALS. Time isn't on the side of those afflicted.Fighting ALS is a full-time job.
A PERSONAL STORY ABOUT ALS
When I saw my cousin Lance at my Bar Mitzvah, over three and a half years ago, he was just diagnosed with ALS. A few weeks ago, I visited him in a nursing home, where I was shocked to see how quickly the disease has progressed, as he is now confined to a wheelchair and cannot even move his limbs. I was so distraught by how helpless my cousin was that day that I decided to take action immediately.
As a result, I am now spearheading the ALS Association division of Chores-for-Charity, which is an organization that provides community service credit to students who donate portions of their earnings to charity. These earnings can come from nearly anything- a summer job, babysitting for your neighbor, or even mowing the lawn for your parents. Instead of just donating money directly to the ALS Association, Chores-for-Charity provides students with extra incentive to contribute because they will receive recognition for community service. In other words, any “unpaid” hours worked are considered “volunteer” hours worked by Chores-for-Charity.
Chores-for-Charity has already received a nationwide response, as high school-aged kids are working with a greater purpose, allocating generous portions of their earnings to charity. Political figures like New Jersey governor Jon Corzine and ex-New Jersey senator Bill Bradley have commended the organization for the success in raising considerable funds.
ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control all muscle movement. Eventually, the person with ALS is paralyzed. There is no known cause or cure, and it is fatal 100% of the time. ALS is commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, as this terrible disease is what forced the Yankee great to discontinue his remarkable streak of consecutive games played, retire, and prematurely die.
I encourage Livingston students to look into this program, which is effective on November 1st. Please show philanthropy and become involved. Earn for yourself the satisfaction that your work is not only being converted into community service credit, but that your donations are also invaluable to medical researchers. Any-sized donation is greatly appreciated. For additional information, contact me or check out www.choresforcharity.com.