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A Young Friends Donor Finds Blessings Amid Life's Struggles

At his Bar Mitzvah last year, Bobby Rutkoff discussed blessings and curses as described in his Torah portion. Blessings, he said, can even be found in parts of life that could easily be defined as curses – for example, his own struggle with Tourette Syndrome and his grandmother’s affliction with Alzheimer’s Disease. His own diagnosis, he recalled, “was hard news and felt like such a curse.” And yet, aided by his health care team, he was learning to manage his symptoms, and, in the process, had “learned a lot about myself.”

Similarly, after his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the young teen continued to see the blessings in her life. Although he was sad that his grandparents, Lynn and Bert Bloomston, could no longer travel and go out together, “I can still find blessings, mainly that Meme doesn’t seem to suffer,” he said. “She is still just as sweet, loving and happy as she always was, and she loves and enjoys having her family around her.” She has loving caregivers, he noted, and she has received enormous blessings through CARES. CARES Bobby said at the time, “has been a great source of joy for my grandmother and gave my grandfather some time to take care of himself,” Bobby said in announcing that a portion of his Bar Mitzvah money would be donated to CARES. “My grandmother loved going there when she was able.”

With wisdom beyond his years, Bobby had a lesson for us all: Whatever challenges or “curses” we face, at any stage of life, we can benefit by also seeing the blessings that accompany them. Today, amid the many losses brought on by the global pandemic, Bobby continues to notice the blessings in his life “I never would have thought I would be grateful to get up in the morning and go to school. But last spring, when school was suddenly cancelled because of COVID, I really missed it. I’m glad we’re back in school this year, and I hope the virus doesn’t get so bad we have to shut down again.”

To join Bobby as a Friend of CJFS, go to


CJFS CARES continues to provide caregiver support, as well as cognitive and social engagement, for those affected by dementia and their families. To learn more contact Program Director Pam Leonard, or 205.960.3411.