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Promise and Progress - Eli Kahn

Faces of Childhood Cancer

Eli Kahn

Date: June 1, 2004

By the age of 5, Eli Kahn was already learning to give from the heart and to share his story with others.

Diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia when he was 3, Eli spent every other weekend for six months on CMSC 8 of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, and an additional two years as an outpatient undergoing chemotherapy delivered through an implanted infusaport. When the small, tube-like device was finally removed from his chest in 1996, Eli took his surgeon, Chuck Paidas, up on his offer and decided to keep it as a souvenir.

Today, at 13, the Maryland seventh-grader is spreading the word about Johns Hopkins Medicine and the children who depend on it. He’s at work raising nearly $10,000 for pediatric oncology through “Cartridges for a Cure” ( a Web-based fund-raising program he and his mother developed last year to commemorate his Bar Mitzvah in March 2004. Tennessee-based Envirosmart is paying him $1 to $10 for every used, recyclable printer cartridge he can lay his hands on.

Eli’s efforts have caught the attention of local newspapers, and he has received e-mails and donations from supporters nationwide. Baltimore’s legal and business weekly, The Daily Record, listed Eli as one of Maryland’s “Innovators of the Year,” a recognition for successful business leaders and community organizers. Eli also landed a check for $5,000 as one of five winners of Lands’ End catalog’s recent “Born Heroes” contest, which he presented to pediatric oncologist Cindy Schwartz.

Eli just received word that he has been chosen as a store level winner in the Kohl's Kids Who Care Youth Volunteer Recognition Program.  Ten national winners will be selected, and will receive $5,000 college scholarships. Kohl's will donate $1,000 to each winner's nonprofit organization.Though pleased by these honors, Eli continues to work hard on Cartridges For a Cure with help and encouragement from his family. “As long as people keep sending me cartridges, I’ll keep working,” says Eli. 

 “It feels really good to help out Johns Hopkins,” said Eli in an article in the Fall 2003 Lands’ End Kids “Born Heroes” catalog, “because they helped me out so much when I really needed it.” —with Caitlin Corrigan