Kids Kicking Cancer (KKC) Israel is a nonprofit organization that utilizes martial arts skills and techniques to help children with cancer and other illnesses learn to find their inner strength and emotional well-being through free martial arts training, family support, and counseling.
The nonprofit functions with the support and help of the volunteer martial arts teachers who spend 10 hours in a course, followed by two months of training, preparing to work with children. The volunteers represent a mixed background, as they come from all parts of the region and identify as Arabs, Jews, Bedouins, and more. Their religious and cultural differences do not divide them as the volunteers have found a common interest: the healing of children in need.
KKC, which was founded by Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg who decided to launch the nonprofit after he lost his two-year-old to leukemia, is established in over 20 cities across the world. The program has been in place in Israel for five years in six different hospitals and is run by Danny Hakim, the founder of ALLMEP member Budo for Peace.
The program rests on the principles of power, peace, and purpose. Volunteers teach children to release their anger by kicking and hitting pads as well as learning to control their anxiety and remain calm by learning meditation and breathing exercises. Beyond physical benefits gained from martial arts training, the children gain a sense of pride and purpose through the program.
KKC’s medical director and Wayne State University professor of pathology Martin Bluth conducted a 2016 study that discovered a 40 percent overall reduction in pain after an hour long martial arts class focused on movement and meditation.
With the success of the program and it’s the ability to give sick children a chance at physical and emotional strength building, KKC plans to move into four more hospitals in Israel by the end of the year as well as expand into Jordanian and Turkish hospitals. By focusing on children in need, the volunteers at KKC move beyond religious and cultural barriers to focus on their ability to help through martial arts.
In a statement to The Times of Israel, volunteer Miki Chayat of Bnei Brak stated:
To cancer, we are all the same; it doesn’t care whether we are religious or not, Jewish or not. We are here with a purpose and are cooperating for a good cause.
Photo Credit: The Times of Israel
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