Over the summer a young man started coming to Hillel looking for volunteer opportunities. His name is Howie. Howie was spending some time in Gainesville waiting for a new heart. Howie was born disabled and with heart condition. In fact he was the youngest person in the history of Miami up to that time to have open heart surgery, at just 17 weeks old.
So Howie has been hanging out with us a little between waiting in Gainesville and travelling home to Miami. Because of an extended stay in Gainesville over the weekend, Howie was able to join us for shabbat dinner last Friday. He got to meet lots of our wonderful students and loved chatting with them about his nephew, professional wrestling, why he is in Gainesville.
Howie called me Monday morning with exciting news. After a long time on the transplant list, he finally got a heart! He was flown up here immediately on Angel Flight (an amazing organization, go check out their work) and by 4 PM was on the operating table. Late last night the surgery finished, and Howie now begins his long road to recovery.
At Hillel, we want Howie to know we care about him and hope he has a fast and full recovery. Our original plan was to send Howie a "Get Well Soon!" card. But we are the UF Hillel, and we do things a little differently. Keith made a suggestion, "See if we can get 1,800 students to sign the card".
Here's the plan amigos, I got this big show board, like a science-fair-board-thing. It says, Get well soon, Howie!" All you need to do is sign it. And print your name on the attached paper so we can keep count of the names. It will be in the Hillel mostly, but I'll also be carrying it around, everywhere I go. Follow me on twitter @UFHillel to track the card and on facebook.com/ufhillel.
Why this? Why ask so many students who don't know or haven't met Howie to do this?
Because Jewish people look out for and take care of one another. It's the core of our community strength. In my opinion it is a big part of why the Jewish people exist after 4,000 years of exiles, persecutions, the Holocaust, pogroms, ghettos, etc...
Also there is a mitzvah to visit the ill. Here's a way to fulfill this mitzvah, we will take a piece of you, your thoughts, and your prayers to Howie.
Howie will likely be here for about a month at Shands. My goal is to get at least 1,800 signatures within 2 weeks. But I will desperately need your help, your classmate's help, your neighbor's help, your teacher's help too! Seriously, ask if I can bring the card to class one day and everyone can sign it on their way out. If you live in a fraternity or sorority house, let me know when I can bring the card over to get signatures.
Thank you for your help. And let's hope for a fast and full recovery for Howie.
To contact Jeff, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him @jeffdude