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Dr. Aaron Lazar Brain Cancer Campaign

Tax deductible
On February 20th, 2019 in Naperville, Illinois, my father, Aaron Lazar called my brother and me to tell us he had been diagnosed with the most aggressive form of brain cancer. He told us he would have up to two years to live and looked forward to spending more time with us with the precious amount he has left.

After 30+ years as a family practice, primary care physician, he took his first and potentially last leave of absence. His wife, my step-mom, left her home in Virginia and moved in with him. On February 28th, they cracked his skull open and took out as much of the tumor as they could. The last weeks of March, I left my job as a caseworker for the state of Oregon, packed my car up with the essentials and moved back in with my dad.

Over my dad's thirty plus years in practice as a primary care doctor, I have heard story after story of people in Naperville and surrounding suburbs tell me of how my father saved their or their loved one's lives. I have heard stories of how he helped families through the hardest times of their lives and helped families navigate the nightmare of letting their loved ones leave this earth peacefully and painlessly. Whenever I hear, “is your dad a doctor?”, after recognizing my last name, what follows is almost identical each time. They tell me about one of these stories, they tell me about how my dad was different, not your average family doctor, about how without him, they don’t know if they or one of their loved ones would be alive. People my dad took care of have always said he listened to them as a human being, not a number. The joke about him throughout the years is how long of a wait his patients would endure when they came to see him. Some people would check-in and then go home, only to come back an hour or two later, knowing he was always behind. The reason he was always behind is the same reason he is so widely adored, his compassion. He viewed his patients as an extension of himself and in return, his patients viewed him as part of their family.

As his son, he has always told my brother and I that we are the most important people in his life. After a total of 12 miscarriages and on the verge of adoption, my brother and I were born. He told us that when my older brother, Zack, was born in 1987 and the moment he first held him in his arms, a feeling came over him. The feeling of mortality, the feeling that from that moment on, he had something to live for other than himself. He would light up watching us play sports, hang out with us and our friends and taking many of naps with us. My brother and I have come to learn how deeply he loves us, how he cherishes every moment with us and how he continues to thank us for even the minimalist favors. He taught me how to love unconditionally, show compassion to strangers, to give without expecting a return, to fight for what is right no matter the cost. It brings me great joy to hear my lifelong friends tell me about how my dad influenced them growing up in ways I never thought possible. I can promise you that he is not perfect, no one is. Words cannot do the justice of my gratitude toward this man. Which brings me back to why I am helping him with this campaign.

This campaign is about raising money for a cause my father believes in, a community he has leaned on and what he envisions as his continuation of helping others heal. My dad and his many medical patients over the years view his legacy as a doctor of being a lifelong catalyst for healing. Now, it is his turn to help heal again, this time, outside of the medical field. This campaign is to raise money for an organization, school, community center, faith center and his source of spiritual strength, Congregation Beth Shalom.

The official name of this fundraising drive is: Dr. Aaron Lazar Brain Cancer Solid Future Fund. After over 20 years, the building is in need of significant repair, remodeling and maintenance in order to remain standing and last at least another 30 to 40 years. The initial donations will be used to start the plumbing and insulation work needed. One of the most pressing parts of the building are the classrooms and thus your donations here will directly benefit the children having a safe and comfortable learning environment with operable bathrooms, drinking fountains and heating/cooling. Below is the entire campaign numbers.

Plumbing:                                                      $100,000

Foundation +Exterior Mitigation:  $120,000

Insulation:                                                        $90,000

HVAC:                                                              $160,000

Total:                                                                $470,000

As of 5/19/19:
Total amount raised: $107,118
Total amount pledged (plus raised): $187,118

If you choose to make an offline donation, please send donations to:

Congregation Beth Shalom

772 West 5th Avenue

Naperville, IL 60563

This campaign is about honoring a man who has given his life’s work to helping and healing other people. Now, it is our turn to give back to this man. He is not asking for money for his procedures and medical expenses, instead he is once again seeking to heal. To heal a building that provides him and many others guidance, support and strength in the darkest and brightest of times. Please join myself, my family and the worldwide community in giving back to a man that has given his life to healing others.

Newspaper article about my father and this campaign:


Alex Lazar
Naperville, IL
Congregation Beth Shalom

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