First-Grader Raises $1,500 in Grandmother's Memory
Jake Levine raised money for the Leukemia Research Foundation in memory of his grandmother.
First-grader and Lincolnshire-resident Jake Levine will make a special presentation about giving today to his class at Laura B. Sprague Elementary.
Last week Jake, along with his family, presented a check of $1,501 to the Wilmette-based Leukemia Research Foundation in memory of his grandmother Elaine Rubinstein. For Jake's efforts, the LRF awarded him a Certificate of Gratitude, and “they made him feel so special, and to see everybody's excitement and know that he raised a lot of money, for a kid that's huge” said Alisa Levine, Jake's mother.
Jake Levine's fundraising efforts can be attributed to Susan Vani, his first grade teacher at Sprague. As part of the school project, “Think Outside the Envelope," each student in Vani's class received $10 to put toward making the world a better place. Before Jake decided on raising money for leukemia, he and his mother discussed giving toys to children, or giving food to shelters. Eventually, they “also discussed grandma," Alisa told Patch.
"Jake said he wanted to try and raise money to help others in Nunee's situation [Jake called his grandmother 'Nunee'], and he said he wished he could have done it sooner, before she passed away, so that she would have been cured," Alisa said.
In 2009 Jake's grandmother, Elaine Rubinstein, passed away within 10 months of being diagnosed with a very rare type of leukemia. Rubinstein was a Northbrook resident who had previously lived in Wilmette for 40 years.
Alisa said that Elaine was very involved in the Wilmette community, having worked with the park district. Elaine, a mother of three, was also very active with her two grandchildren, including Jake.
"[Jake] would sit and listen for hours to stories my mom would make up,” Alisa said, adding that “she always brought these special cookies that he loved, and to this day I still buy those cookies and he always remembers.”
The matter was settled then, and the $10 would be used to buy stamps. The Levine family set to work writing letters to their friends and family, asking them to donate $10 or more if they could. The Levines thought they'd raise around $500 for LRF.
Alisa said the community response brought tears to her eyes.
“I am really proud of [Jake] for what he's done, and I know that my mom would be so proud of him."