Eyal sent letters to all family members and friends asking them to donate money to the organization instead of gifting it to him for his bar mitzvah.
"I'm raising money in memory of my late grandmother Rina, who passed away from cancer two years ago," Eyal wrote to his guests."While she was ill she kept saying, 'I don't sit and wait for bad times to pass, instead I create better times for myself.'
"I'm not religious, so being called up to the Torah is not something I would do. I personally don't find there's anything special to celebrate at a bar mitzvah event, it's not like I go to bed and become a man overnight. Coming of age doesn’t make me worthy of receiving big sums of money, so I decided to donate it to someone who needs it more than I do," he said.
"My grandmother died of cancer two years ago. I know how hard it is to watch someone you love suffer from cancer ... She was a great woman in every way: she was a lawyer who helped people, she was smart and kind. Family and friends were important to her; she wanted to lend a hand to people who needed help," he said.
"The idea to raise money for Make-a-Wish came from my mother, Rina, while she herself was ill with cancer," said Shelly Oron, Eyal's mother. "My eldest son Tomer was the first to take the initiative and donate his bar mitzvah money to an organization that distributes food to the poor. We explained that instead of giving my son the money, we asked them to donate it. Now, Eyal is following in Tomer's footsteps."
She aded: "My mother used to live next door. She was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was 74. Eyal was 10 at the time and saw his grandmother fade away in front of his eyes. They had a special bond, they talked a lot and she was very involved."
Make-A-Wish Israel fulfills wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses. The organization was founded in Israel in 1996 and has since fulfilled 4,000 wishes. The wishes vary from new toys to meetings with celebrities to trips abroad.
"The strong bond between the child and his grandmother, which led to his decision to raise money for a good cause is very special and exciting. We help children with serious illnesses, not just cancer. When we ask them what they wish for— their eyes sparkle. For us, it's a great privilege to lift their spirits in challenging times," said Make-A-Wish Israel founder, Denise Bar-Aharon.