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Youth raises funds for cause close to her heart

Date: 5/26/2009

By Natasha Clark

Assistant Managing Editor

LONGMEADOW Jami Zolotor's Bat Mitzvah will be of even more signifigance, if that is possible.

She used this important time in her life to give back in a way that has special meaning for her and her family. Jami raised over $470 for the Cancer Connection in honor of her grandmother. The organization is a support center where people living with cancer, their families and their caregivers can learn how to cope with their changed lives, bodies and emotional turmoil by sharing strategies and resources.

"I did a pajama day fundraiser [at my old school] and [students] had to pay one or two dollars to be able to wear their pajamas on [that day]," Jami said.

The fundraiser took place at Wolf Swamp Road Elementary School, where her two sisters, Casey and Alex, attend and where Jami previously graduated.

"I'm very proud that she really did this project independently. She made the fliers, she did the research and she spoke with the principal at the elementary [school] to get permission," her mother Stephanie said, adding that her father Andy is equally as pleased. "She's just a caring kid that really enjoys helping others."

No stranger to volunteerism, Jami also works with children how have special needs.

Cancer Connection Director Betsy Neisner said she thought Jami's participation was wonderful and is in stride with the kind of atmosphere they want to create when people think of the center.

"Having cancer is like waking up in a different country in a different language," Neisner, who is also a cancer survivor, said. "[At Cancer Connection] you can bring all of your fear and terror and your emotions and release them and find a way of coping."

The center, based in Florence, Mass., offers eight support groups, complimentary massages, workshops, art classes, exercise programs and more.

"We rely on contributions from individuals and we have three main fundraisers a year and grants from companies," Neisner added.

Jami is amazed at how much the children at Wolf Swamp have pitched in.

"It's really nice. It makes me feel warm inside," she said.

To learn more about the Cancer Connection visit or call 586-1642.