For 12 years, Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg worked at a camp for children battling cancer, witnessing the pain and discomfort many endured while undergoing medical procedures.
A black belt in Choi Kwang-Do, he offered to teach one of the kids some breathing tricks.
“In martial arts, you learn that pain is a message that you don’t have to listen to,” he told CNN Heroes. “That lesson is so unbelievably effective.”
Goldberg realized he was on to something and founded Kids Kicking Cancer in 1999.
“When children get a diagnosis like cancer or any major disease, they lose any sense of feeling that they’re controlling their lives. They’re prodded and poked and touched, and they’re often so afraid,” Goldberg said. “We teach kids how to control their pain and make them feel powerful.”
The organization began in Michigan and has since expanded its programs to New York, Los Angeles and Florida and internationally to Italy, Israel and Canada.
The Rabbi has been named one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes for 2014.
(WATCH the videos below, or READ more at CNN Heroes)