STORIES
Young Heroes

Rina Goldberg

by Daniel Chavez

"Love Life, Dream Big, Be Positive." - Rina Goldberg
Rina Goldberg- Mito Warriror and Visionary (The Magic Bracelet)
Rina Goldberg- Mito Warriror and Visionary (The Magic Bracelet)

Rina Goldberg exemplifies the meaning of perseverance, resiliency, and positivity. Rina suffered from Mitochondrial Disease, which she unfortunately lost her battle with in December 2010, at the young age of 15. This young filmmaker wrote the script for and inspired the great film, The Magic Bracelet, which she requested to be completed even after her passing. Through the Make A Film Foundation (MAFF), a non-profit organization that grants film wishes to children with serious or life-threatening medical conditions by teaming them with noted actors, directors and writers who help them create short film legacies that offer hope and build self-esteem, Rina's film was made possible. 


This 15-year-old hero refused to let her disease smother her dream and always looked for ways to make her situation better. She followed her passion, and thanks to her parents, who promised to make her movie dream come true, and the help of such a great organization like MAFF, we have seen an outstanding film flourish. The Magic Bracelet has won 4th Place in the "Professional Portraits of an Organization" category of the 2013 MY HERO International Film Festival and Rina has been awarded a Hero Award. She has definitely motivated people to continue to chase their dreams and not let negative circumstances bring you down. 

Hailee Steinfeld (Ashley) & Bailee Madison (Ashley (The Magic Bracelet)
Hailee Steinfeld (Ashley) & Bailee Madison (Ashley (The Magic Bracelet)

Here is a bio about her:

Strong? Sure. Smart? Definitely. But mostly resilient and insistent. Rina Goldberg exuded a fierce grace with a sharp wit and a zest for life, which transfixed everyone who came into contact with her. While mitochondrial disease took Rina from this world on December 29, 2010, just two weeks after her 15th birthday, her spirit is transcendent and continues to inspire. Rina was determined that her original story, which began as a diversion from the mitochondrial disease stalking her body organ by organ, would appear on the Hollywood big screen and spread her life mantra: Love Life, Dream Big, Be Positive.

As so many other children and adults with "mito", Rina had a plethora of medical challenges from infancy. One set of medical symptoms after another, leading to appointments with one medical specialist after another, resulting in a mind-numbing laundry list of seemingly unconnected diagnoses, and no apparent solution for any of them. Finally in January 2006 she was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease. As the years passed, hospitalizations and medical procedures became a regular routine. Over time she acquired a gastric feeding tube, jejunal feeding tube, port-cath (central line for IV access), trach and ventilator. With her typical wit and positive outlook, Rina referred to these pieces of life-dependent medical equipment as her "fashion accessories". Rina's house became a makeshift medical clinic in order to minimize hospital stays yet do what was necessary to fulfill her medical needs.

Despite the complex medical challenges and equipment, which surrounded her, Rina pushed the disease aside and lived life to the fullest. Even from her bed or on the couch where she came to spend most of her time, Rina reached out to others and journeyed to other lands with friends using the Internet and technology. Rina could be like a chameleon, successfully fitting in with people of all ages and backgrounds. Her stomach may have been connected to a g-tube, but her ears were plugged into the likes of the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, Peter Paul & Mary and contemporary Jewish entertainers. The canons of Twilight and Harry Potter entranced her and if people needed details on American Idol, The Food Network, or anything related to Lucille Ball and I Love Lucy, they knew whom to ask.

Spending time with family was everything. Rina was a major football fan with her dad, rabidly rooting on her local Philadelphia Eagles and her friend's hometown Fighting Irish. Conversely, she loved to watch "girly shows" with her mom. And she could always count on her Aunt Corri or Grandma Millie to drive anywhere to get what she wanted if her parents said no.

In July 2009 Mitchell Eiven, a family friend and President of Movie and Theater Corporation, asked Rina to conceive a movie concept as a distraction and to allow her imagination to soar beyond her physical condition. What ensued was truly magical. Rina quickly independently developed the treatment for "The Magic Bracelet". Rina proudly held the titles "Jr. Producer, Jr. Director, and Jr. Writer performing her jobs with great focus and seriousness. The movie became an outlet for Rina's creative mind serving as an avenue in which her vision and voice could reach the world; raising crucial awareness about mitochondrial disease in a light hearted fashion.

Rina had a phenomenal attitude and didn't want pity. Finding a photograph in which she is not smiling is near impossible. Rina was determined to leave her mark by making a difference in this world. She was always so much more than her illness. Although Rina had mitochondrial disease, mitochondrial disease never had Rina.

Page created on 11/13/2013 12:14:40 AM

Last edited 1/6/2017 8:10:15 PM

Related Links

Make A Film Foundation - Grants film wishes to children with serious or life-threatening medical conditions
Jewish Exponent - Rina's Movie
Philly.com - A teenager's last wish will live as a movie

Extra Info

TESTIMONIALS - The Impact of The Magic Bracelet

Tina from Plainfield, IL
'I bought a copy of Rina's movie and plan to show it to as many people as I can. The message goes beyond Mitochondrial Disease. So many people live long lives and do not understand what living is about. Rina's movie is so moving and shows people what it means to truly live.'

Lisa from Sonoma Valley, CA
'I attended the UMDF symposium last weekend and watched the screening of Rina's movie, The Magic Bracelet. You all did such an amazing job with it. Rina's story of joy and hope through illness, Diablo's adaptation, the acting, and even the awareness the film brings to mitochondrial disease. It all came together so beautifully.'

Karen from Ireland
'I am Irish and my sister-in-law got me Rina's movie as a gift as I have a child with mito. I just wanted you to know that we watched it last night at midnight and as we were watching it the most beautiful butterfly flew across the room. I was utterly blown away. We don't see butterflies much in Ireland and definitely not indoors, let alone at midnight!'

Hope from Nashville, TN
'I wanted to send you a note to say thank you for pressing on and getting this movie done. I received my DVD on Monday. I watched the behind the scenes first and then the movie second. Both were so heartwarming and inspiring.'

In keeping Rina's wishes alive, I feel every person with mito should buy at least two copies of this DVD. They should get one for themselves to keep and one more to give to someone (family member, friend, doctor). This DVD explains mito better than I ever could try to do. I'm going to be buying more copies down the road to give to some people.

Thanks again for sharing this movie with the mito community and with the world at large.'

Author Info

Rina's film wish was made possible by
Make A Film Foundation

The film written and inspired by Rina Goldberg,
The Magic Bracelet, has been awarded Best Short Film
at the Big Apple Film Festival in New York.