The Schmooze

8-Year-Old Cancer Patient Gets ‘Can’t Believe It’ Visit From Matisyahu

Rena Koenig didn’t know what to expect when she emailed Matisyahu to ask if he would visit her 8-year-old daughter who’s battling cancer.

“She loves his songs, she listens to them when she is in pain,” Koenig said in a phone interview. “I thought, ‘What do I have to lose?’”

The leap of faith paid off. Laila, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment for a rare bone cancer called Ewing Sarcoma, got a very special visit from the singer-songwriter last month.

“I know you. You’re the one who sings my favorite songs,’” Laila told the star, when he arrived at the Koenig’s New York City apartment.

The two sang Matisyahu’s song “Sunshine”(Laila’s favorite) and the artist discussed his own daughter’s battle with two heart surgeries.

“She was like, ‘I just can’t believe he came to see me,’” Koenig recalled.

It was a bright spot for the family, who are fundraising to help cover the financial burdens of Laila’s treatment.

“He said whenever he has a concert in New York she’s invited for sure,” Koenig said. “And they’ll sing on the stage together.”

Thea Glassman is an Associate Editor at the Forward. Reach her at or on Twitter at @theakglassman.

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8-Year-Old Cancer Patient Gets ‘Can’t Believe It’ Visit From Matisyahu

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