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Disney World Trip A Welcome Distraction For Cancer-Stricken Kids

Ohr Meir Foundation Brings 50 Children To Orlando
Children with cancer wait for their flight to Disney World on Dec. 8, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Children with cancer wait for their flight to Disney World on Dec. 8, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Eight-year-old Sarit could barely contain her excitement Sunday morning as she waited at Kennedy AIrport to board a plane to Orlando, Fla.

As WCBS 880′s Monica Miller reported, Sarit is one of 50 children with cancer being taken by the Ohr Meir Foundation on an all-expense-paid trip to Disney World.

Her favorite part of the Disney World? “I like the characters,” Sarit says.

It’s the 20th year the foundation has arranged the trip. Steven Friedman, who helps his family run the charity, says the annual tradition helps give kids a break from hospital visits and chemotherapy sessions.

“It’s a good feeling when we finish doing what we do that we see the transformation of the children, and it’s worth everything,” Friedman says.

Chavy Podrigral, 10, says she’s excited to see Disney World, but she’s really looking forward to being around people who understand her.

“We all went through the same thing, and they understand me,” she says. “So it’s nice talking together.”

It’s a huge responsibility to take 50 children to Orlando for four days, especially when they have cancer. But Friedman says everyone is up for the task.

“Everyone here is a volunteer — from the doctors to the nurses to everybody,” he says.

The yearly trip also helps keep alive the spirit of Friedman’s brother, who died of luekemia at age 10.

“My brother, Meir, is the one who passed away 21 years ago, and my family founded the Ohr Meir Foundation shortly thereafter, and this is what they’ve been doing since,” Friedman says.

“What would identify him would be a smile. And that’s what we do here: We really bring smiles back to the kids’ faces.”

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