Dasi Sessel, a tenth-grader from Orange, Connecticut, never considered age as a barrier to changing the world—as soon as she began pursuing her passion for singing in 2009, she knew she wanted to use her talent to help others. Finding a cure to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis has been on her mind ever since one of her sisters was diagnosed. This became her passion.
The as-of-yet incurable Crohn’s disease is a painful affliction of the digestive system highly prevalent among Ashkenazic Jews, who are almost five times as likely to contract Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Suffering patients find that almost every aspect of their lives is impacted, and flare-ups happen fiercely and without warning.
“Being a parent of a young child with a chronic illness was overwhelming, and navigating the health-care system was impossible. Communicating with my daughter’s school became a challenge,” says Dasi’s mother, Debbie Sessel. “Teachers didn’t understand how important sleep was to the healing process, and how to adjust the workload so that my daughter could continue with her classes in a stress-free way. Patients with these types of diseases seem to hold all of their stress in their gut, so reducing the stress of missed days became an ongoing challenge.”
But from the turmoil of chronic illness emerged a firm resolve in the heart of Dasi Sessel, who now attends Rohr Bais Chaya Academy in Coral Springs, Florida. “I decided back then that I wanted to do whatever I could to find a cure for this terrible disease,” she explains.
With this unique combination of passion and purpose, the UNITE FOR THE CURE Benefit Ladies’ Night Out concert was born. “We’ve always wanted to organize a fundraiser in support of finding a cure. When the idea of a benefit concert was suggested, Dasi was so enthusiastic and the idea just took off,” says Debbie Sessel, event coordinator and proud mom.
The event promises significant impact: two matching donors have each pledged $5,000, which means the funds raised by Dasi’s concert could well exceed her $20,000 goal. All proceeds from the concert will benefit The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD).
Performances will be given by DASI, who showcases a sweet, pure voice, and Riv Eilfort, a songwriter and guitarist who has moved audiences across the nation with her soulful lyrics.
A key highlight of the evening will be inspirational and spiritual insights from Kabbalah Coach Shimona Tzukernik, who guides individuals and corporations in spirituality-based personal transformation.
The night will also include a tribute to their family’s pediatric gastroenterologist, Dr. Sandra Escalera, of North Haven, Connecticut, for her commitment and devotion to her patients, and the special connection she has with the Sessel family.
The Bijou Theater in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is the perfect venue. The intimate, restored cabaret playhouse will allow for the audience to feel a connection to the performers and speakers, and bring the reality of living with chronic diseases to the forefront of their minds.
Tickets to this Ladies’ Night Out tribute and concert will include wine and refreshments.
“Too many people we know have faced the fear, the unknown, and the unpredictable consequences of Crohn’s and colitis,” Debbie Sessel says in a fund-raising appeal. “Awareness is so important—there are many moms who have contacted me for advice, guidance, and support as they go through the same experience we did. Knowing that so many others share these challenges is comforting.”
Dasi is excited for this event, which she hopes will become an annual gathering. It will be held on Tuesday, June 10, at 7:00pm. “Let’s continue to join together knowing that yes, we can make a difference, and finding a cure would be even better!” she declares confidently.
For more information, to purchase tickets or make a donation, visit DASI’s website, www.dasisessel.com