Posts Tagged ‘camp’

Special Needs: Accepting Those Who Are Different

June 8, 2017

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Summer for the Special Child

The summer break is a magical world of fascinating experiences for children, who enjoy the long days of vacation and fun, of frolic and adventure. At the same time, it can be quite a headache for parents, who are kept busy figuring out how to keep the children occupied and who will supervise them when the adults go to work and take care of other occupations.

This “headache” is twice as daunting when we are speaking of children with special needs and impairments, who need extra attention and even closer supervision. Their world is cramped into the limited scope of their families and they get lost in the lack of  routine, as dependent children who constantly need a loving look, a caress, and help in mobility. Their inability to adapt to to an unstructured day leads to chaos and misery both on the part of other family members and the child himself. the house is continually upside-down. Siblings cannot invite a friend over for a game or even read more than a page of a book without a sudden avalanche of the contents of dresser drawers coming tumbling down on them. The logistics of a simple trip to the local park make it an impossibility for the family to enjoy. Mommy cannot even dream of a more complex trip to the zoo. As frustrated as the family becomes, the frustrations are two-fold for the special child who does not have a clue as to how to productively occupy himself.  For special-needs children, the world of experiences is piled with challenges that may seem banal and self-understood. But for these children, one on one guidance is vitally needed for the success of even the simplest activity. An organized professional day camp is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

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Special Needs Fun at Amusement Park

Anyone who did not see the 130 children who came every day from the entire Southern region (Netivot, Ofakim, Sderot, Beesheva, and all the surrounding towns) to Ezer Mizion’s day camp for special-needs children – never saw what real happiness looks like. The day camp provided concentrated days of happiness and high spirits, fun and adventure for the children, and hours of substantial relief for the parents and siblings. In addition to the mobility accessories, playground equipment, fun workshops, entertainment, arts and crafts, chocolate-making, drumming, baking, musical activities, animal performances, dog training, trips, and attractions, the day camp was unique in the tremendous power of giving demonstrated by its more than 250 volunteers. Each child was assigned a personal volunteer who looked after him and saw to all his personal needs. The day camp had twice as many volunteers as campers, enabling half the volunteers to alternately rest and recharge their batteries, to be ready for the challenge of boundless giving that characterizes the day camp.

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Special Needs Summer Fun

“I am very happy and excited,” said one mother whom we met on the site, glowing with pleasure at the sight of her son in his wheelchair, grinning from ear to ear. “But my happiness is tempered by a bit of sadness.”  “Why are you sad?” we asked, surprised at the tears that seemed about to burst from her blinking eyes.” “I’m sad because tomorrow, the day camp will be over and my son will be back home, without a framework to keep him busy,” she said, looking longingly in the direction of the chairman of Ezer Mizion’s Netivot branch, Rabbbi Naftali Kuber. Rabbi Kuber is the engine moving the wheels of the day camp. He is in charge of the tremendously complex project of getting the day camp going and running smoothly, among other things – rallying the funds to provide the children with a rich breakfast and a hot, attractive lunch. You couldn’t miss the sense of anguish expressed by the mother. Naftali, who is used to emotional moments such as these, promised that “He who places his trust in Hashem will be surrounded by chessed, loving-kindness.” The father of a boy from Beersheva joins the circle: “There is nothing like this. This is a tremendous chessed enterprise with power that cannot be captured in words. My little boy comes home every day happy and cheerful, alert and full of joie de vivre, a stark contrast to routine days, when he returns exhausted and miserable.”

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Special Needs Children

The day camp took place on the Chemdat Hadarom College campus in the Sedot Negev regional council. A number of entities and companies sponsored the various activities, including: the Netivot Community Center, the Netivot Social Services Department, Sedot Negev Educational department, the various municipalities in the area, Klalit Health Services, which rallied with a warm heart for the cause, and the Dan Badarom bus company, which donated a bus to transport the volunteers every day. Every visitor who stopped into the day camp was struck by the love and special joy that prevailed in the day camp, and by the volunteers who devoted their personal vacation on behalf of the special children.

Rabbi Naftali Kuber, chairman of Ezer Mizion’s Netivot branch, warmly thanked Netivot Maor Yechiel Zohar for his outstanding assistance in organizing the day camp, and Tamir Idan, head of the edot Negev Council, who also rallied on behalf of the children and graciously provided all necessary assistance.

Help those on the waiting list for 2017!



Ezer Mizion Partners with Chemdat Hadarom for Special-Needs Children

March 9, 2017


pr special sun‘Each child is born with its unique value. It’s up to society to ensure that his development enables him to succeed to the limits of his potential.’ Thus spoke Naftali Bennet, Minister of Education in Israel at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Master’s Program at Chemdat Hadarom. The college has proven its goals as it trains its students to reach deep inside each child and help him reach the heights of his G-d-given abilities. At Chemdat Hadorom, special needs children are very special indeed.

And that is why the college has annually loaned out its attractive, spacious campus to Ezer Mizion’s Special Children Division to use for its Summer Camp. A special child works hard to gain each new level but the long summer break can destroy much of his gains. Ezer Mizion’s devoted staff makes sure that this does not happen. Each child is assigned his own personal counselor who devotes himself 24/7 to his charge. The counselors receive no financial remuneration yet they vie with their friends to obtain the coveted position.   Their salary comes in the form of an “I wuv you!” from a child who can barely speak. It comes in the form of the grins of his siblings on visiting day after having had a real summer vacation , perhaps for the first time in their lives, with a mother who was able to do the simple things with them, a bedtime story, a trip to the playground, a playdate with a friend…things that most children take for granted. It comes in the form of a marvelous of satisfaction at having made a real difference to a family dealing with a difficult situation day in and day out. The camp activities, geared especially for each child, are so terrific that many a younger sibling has been known to say, “ I wish I could go to the Ezer Mizion camp.”

Chemdat Hadorom shares the values and goals for the special child with Ezer Mizion and encourages its students to emulate the positive ambience pervading the Ezer Mizion summer experience. Each year it has offered its spacious campus as a venue for the camp. As the college grows and flourishes, Ezer Mizion looks forward to this productive collaboration growing and flourishing as well!

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

For further info:              5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219                               718 853 8400





Rx: Fun

July 27, 2016

pr canc sup camp 2015 11730962_533479650138309_1938180863_nRegistration was underway. Name. Address. Phone. Room assignment. More lines to be filled out on an inanimate, impersonal form. But there before me stood not line items but people. A group came forward. Children gathered around a Mommy like frisky kittens tumbling over themselves trying to find a place. But the Mommy? The center. Their source of sunshine. Their source of life. The Mommy stood there, her skin translucent. So weak. So helpless. While her children clamored only for the normal requests of childhood, Sara was engaged in a battle for her life. A monster named Cancer had robbed her children of a nurturing Mommy. To admire a drawing, to kiss away a boo-boo…oh, how she longed to perform these motherly privileges once again. But she couldn’t. She felt like a shaky plant that will collapse completely unless surrounded by sturdy props. That’s why she registered in Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp for Families dealing with Cancer. Its staff and volunteers would be the props to hold her up while she gave her children a much-needed dose of “Mommy”.

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The summer camps are a boon to families that have hardly seen each other for weeks at a time. Family interaction is at a minimum with Mommy either as the patient or caretaker spending so much time at the hospital. Even when at home, the fear and terror for the future, the pressure of decision-making all serve to preclude normal nurturing. The camp enables the family structure to function normally in an upbeat atmosphere pervaded by fun and happiness. Everything they could possibly need or want is available. Volunteers assist in removing the burden from the parents, allowing them to save their strength for the hug, the smile …things only a Mommy can give.

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When a plant is propped, it has strength to expand. That explained the immense cooler that one mother lugged with her, even though everything- –that means every possible thing— is provided. “I know we don’t really need this,” she answered when questioned. “But it contains my children’s favorite puddings. I want to be the one to give it to them. A pudding coming from Mommy is different.”

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And the activities? The activities are fantastic, ranging from a trip to a waterpark to a visit from a famous entertainer, from magic shows to jeeping trips, from helicopter rides to joyful dancing and culminating in the famous Balloon Event when hundreds of campers, at the count of Zero, send their colorful balloons soaring heavenward, accompanied by their fervent prayers. It’s a vacation from scary needles and scary thoughts…a time for families to become re-acquainted in an atmosphere of fun…fun…fun. It’s a time to strengthen the spirit in its battle for life itself.

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For these desperate families, camp is a lifeline but, unfortunately, not all can be accommodated. New guidelines had to be instituted. Only those currently undergoing treatment and who had not attended in previous years were permitted to join. And so I was surprised to see among the crowd a woman who I know had been there the year before. The story, when I heard it, was chilling. Last year, the woman had been invited to join the camp due to her husband’s illness. There was no happy ending for this family. Now they were without their Abba. This year they were invited to join again as the three-year-old boy is undergoing chemo.

To share in their good time:

To help sponsor a family so each answer can be a welcoming “Yes!”:     718 853 8400       5225 New Utrecht Ave. Bk NY 11219

Just Cuz I Have Cancer I Can’t Have Any Fun???

June 15, 2016

Summing it All Up

September 16, 2015

pr spec - camp 2015 11817085_525607327592208_8172798921861778918_nSummer is winding down and with it, Ezer Mizion’s summer camp program. “It’s very fulfilling,” says Aharon Levy, senior Ezer Mizion administrator upon the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Camp Program. This year about 4,000 participated in the day camps and retreats, 4,000 special needs children, special needs young adults, families dealing with cancer, mentally disabled and physically disabled. The common denominator of all the summer camp programs was the tremendous challenge posed every day and each hour of camp, which demanded comprehensive and uncompromising logistics, single-minded commitment, devoted staff and a cadre of enthusiastic volunteers.
pr canc sup jeep intro picture 2015“Here where I stand,” says Aharon Levy, “about 400 girls with special needs are enjoying a safe and professional retreat here, which accommodates all their unique requirements. The volunteers –one, sometimes two, for each child– underwent special training that taught them exactly what they would have to do. Before the retreat, they met the child and her parents and got to know her and her unique disabilities – what she is sensitive to and what they must be careful about, so that the days of the retreat would go by with maximum pleasure and safety. Hours upon hours of work went into arranging the exciting program, and the daily schedule was meticulously planned out to give campers a fun experiences to gird them with the strength they need for another year of tough challenges.
pr canc sup camp 2015“The day begins at six-thirty in the morning, when the dedicated volunteers report to the children’s rooms to help them get organized. At seven-thirty, the dining room opens, and right after breakfast is the morning activity, trips, special programs, water activity, and anything you can imagine to make a child’s dream come true. The day winds down with a calm and pleasant nighttime routine, when each child is put to sleep with a full helping of love and attention.
“The highlight of the retreat is the concluding banquet, when the children see themselves in video presentations and recall all the experiences they had during camp. Then there is the final moment – the tear-filled goodbyes, both heartrending and elevating. Many children refuse to leave; it is hard for them to part from their devoted volunteers and this exceptional experience.”
pr canc sup camp 2015 11730962_533479650138309_1938180863_nWhen you walk around on the site, you understand that organizing such a retreat is no simple matter at all – from decorating the place to bringing in the full range of equipment and supplies. Ezer Mizion takes good care of the volunteers as well. After putting the children to sleep, volunteers sit down to an elaborate supper, accompanied by fascinating, exciting programs, rich with content. But of course, this nightly recompense is just a drop in the bucket as compared to the tremendous dedication and effort they invest in the children.”
As Rabbi Levy points out: “Every year anew, I am awestruck by the sight of these hundreds of volunteers, who dedicate their long-awaited summer vacation to the retreat. I am absolutely amazed at how they can spend days in the company of a severely disabled child. Do you realize how many hours there are in each day, how many minutes? It is hard work! The next day, they do it all over again. And all this on a volunteer basis, with no remuneration! There are very difficult children at camp who are on the go, non-stop, 12 hours a day and need constant supervision! There is only one explanation: supreme dedication!”
pr canc sup camp 2015  11796201_526093560876918_62661206831841520_nEven our extremely busy leaders desire to express their admiration. The Sanzer Rebbetzin and Rebbetzin Koledetzky both visited the camp and spoke of their amazement at witnessing the dedicated volunteers. The Rebbetzins went on to pour their accolades on Ezer Mizion, which does its work purely for the mitzvah , bringing much merit to the Jewish nation.

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One of the many letters in our mailbox:
What a great camp and what a phenomenal group of young women working there!

Mira was a bit overwhelmed to see us and started to cry hysterically but she is settling back in to being with us. Rachel said Mira did not cry at all at camp so I know this was just the transition and those are often challenging for Mira.

Rachel, her counselor, was beyond fabulous!. She has incredible energy with a beautiful sense of calm and confidence. Mira had one seizure while at camp and it sounds like it was handled as well as it could have been.

We also had a great week with our boys, which would have been impossible with a special child at home, and our youngest even got to experience one day and night where he was the only child which never happens.

So many thanks!

Paid in Full

September 9, 2015

pr spec - camp 2015 11817085_525607327592208_8172798921861778918_nVacation for Yeshiva students is over. They had a few weeks to recharge. To go on a hike, relax with a book, meet friends for pizza. Some opted to apply for a temporary job to earn a bit of money for the year. And then there are those that would shoot for the top. The top choice for vacation time. The slot that hundreds upon hundreds apply for. The absolutely best way to spend vacation.
Most are disappointed. Only a few are accepted. Is it a top-paying job? A low—priced resort where they can laze away the days? No, it’s neither of these.
It’s a place where they will be required to work from early-very early- in the morning till nightfall, with hardly a moment’s rest. It’s a place that offers no financial remuneration, not one dollar.
And so why are the crowds begging to be accepted? It is because these young people instinctively know where real happiness can be found. It is found in giving to one who can never give back anything in return except what is most precious- pure love. It is found in helping a family that is desperately trying to remain afloat in a situation that would drive many insane.
It is found at Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp for Special Children.
Applications are screened. Appointments are made for interviews. Then come the difficult decisions. It is the elite that are accepted as counselors. Those that will be able to give to give and give…and then do it all over again the next day.
Make no mistake. They are treated as elite. After the campers are put to bed, there are special programs and fantastic food for these malachim (angels) in the guise of yeshiva boys. They are made to feel very appreciated.
“The appreciation is great,” says an angel clad in a blue t-shirt. “But nothing compares to…” His sentence lay unfinished as he shot off to grab his assigned camper, a 10-year-old Downs boy, who looked like he was escaping towards the woods. His was one of the many wild kids that need a shadow every second of the day. Others may need help in getting dressed and feeding themselves. Still others may need to be fed via a tube.
pr spec- camp 2015 ok to use 11825029_523696171116657_1763930051842691890_nEach counselor does his best to give his camper a terrific time, all the while trying to maintain or even increase the abilities that he has worked so hard to achieve during the school year.
“I can’t even begin to imagine how the parents handle these kids, “ says a counselor with his camper securely riding piggy back on his shoulders. Many of these parents have other children. How do they manage to get supper on the table (and have it stay there), do homework with other kids and keep their homes in reasonable order? Even though men aren’t supposed to cry, I can’t help getting tears in my eyes when I hear from some of the siblings at the end of the summer. I’ll get comments like: My Mommy took us all to the park for the first time. We never can go to the park when Yanky is home. Last year I got a comment from an eleven year old sister who told me that, for the first time in her life, she invited a friend to come over to play a game. And the parents…they can’t thank us enough. The keep saying that we can’t understand what this break means for them. No salary can ever compare to that!”
As he turns to go, Yanky wraps his arms around his counselor’s neck and sings out, “ I love you!”
“That’s my salary,” he calls out over his shoulder. “Paid in full.”
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Thank you, cancer…

September 2, 2015

pr canc sup camp 2015One of the most popular movies in the eighties was about a family who spent summers at a resort. As a teenager, I watched the movie over and over again. How I envied that family and their annual trip to the resort!
Twenty-five years later, it was I who was making that trip.
I was invited by Ezer Mizion to come with my children to their amazingly well-prepared summer retreat. Another therapeutic fun time by Ezer Mizion – the place where I go every week to meet women like me. We are all part of the “Cancer Club,” but we’re in different troops.
I am considered in the best situation – the one who survived the “illness.” Yes, there is a hierarchy among us, too. I am in a place that the others in the club envy. There are those who are still fighting and then there are those whose child is the one who belongs to the club. I don’t envy them at all. They are the ones who are on the highest rung of the “holy ladder.” I would rather go through another hundred rounds of this kind than change places with them.
The club had something for all of us. For my son, it was drumming lessons, a dream come true. For me, it was it was art therapy. Michaela knew exactly how to get me to create. Because even though I have almost completed my masters’ degree in art history, I never dared to really draw until now. And how therapeutic it is! Expressing myself on a sheet of drawing paper cleanses all the grit that has filled my soul.
I don’t know where to begin in describing to you how empowering this intensive, joyous retreat was. 18-year-old girls took care of the children with huge dedication, a model to my children that they could never have gotten elsewhere. I had experiences and saw sights that I won’t see for another hundred years of my life: A child getting out of his wheelchair to hug the counselor who escorted him during his week-long journey.
pr-Chananya-ChollakYes, the founder is a rabbi. And no, he did not try to influence anybody to be a baal teshuvah. When he gave a speech, he spoke only about how we as parents can help our children and gave wise advice. This is a group of humanitarians who pay no attention to religious differences. Who are not interested in the political opinions of the people they help. Whose primary concern is the drive to help every person who needs help, whoever he may be, and the desire that everyone should be happy. Everyone. Religious and secular, women who come in t-shirts and chareidi women, Ashkenazim, Sephardim, from all corners of the country. The common factor connecting them at Ezer Mizion’s Donald Berman Rehabilitation Center is the cursed disease of cancer – the one that turns families upside down and strikes at their foundation.
For almost a week, we danced, laughed, created, watched performances, sent balloons flying, ate together, cried together, and felt that there are people who care. Who do what they can to help.
It was kind of strange for me at first. Strange that people volunteer and sweat when they are not getting any financial compensation. Convoys of jeeps with volunteer drivers who gave of their time and good heart and spent an entire day taking us opr canc sup camp 2015 11730962_533479650138309_1938180863_nn outings. It is inconceivable. There were photographers who came, motivated by the desire to give, without recognition. When I asked one of them if I could compliment her by name in my post, she asked me not to.
Two days before, the children jubilantly blew soap bubbles from their gliding parachutes. The parents had handed over what is most precious to them to Yumi and his staff and they handled the children like fine diamonds. Quietly, with deep anticipation, child after child, hundreds of children, reached the horizon smiling, triumphant, loved.
Thanks to Ezer Mizion, I had an amazing summer at camp– rich with far more true value than the movie of my teenage years.
Thank you, cancer, for enabling me to meet such good people on my journey.
For further info:

Jeeping over the Bumps of Cancer with Ezer Mizion

August 25, 2015

pr canc sup camp 2015 2This week, Givat Olga’s seashore looked like a military gathering site. 160 ATVs waited anxiously for their guests. Passengers were assigned to each jeep, and after brief organization, the convoy set off northward. But the people on the jeeps weren’t soldiers, but rather 150 of Ezer Mizion’s children and adults with cancer, along with their families. The 160 volunteer drivers reported for “work” on their own time and at their own expense to take part in Ezer Mizion’s jeep trip – a trip that has become one of the high points of the annual summer camp for children and adults with cancer, now marking its twentieth year.

pr canc sup camp jeep trip waterThe trip set off from a point near the annual retreat site, and took a number of terrain trails: The Carmel, the Churshan Mountain, and the Tavor Mountain trails. In order to maintain an easy pace, the participants were divided into 14 groups, and each one chose a different trail. The trip to Churshan passed through military training areas and the drivers displayed expert terrain driving on the nature preserve’s challenging trail. Other trails went via Ramat Hanadiv and the Bat Shlomo region.

pr canc sup jeep intro picture 2015At a quick glance, the trip does not seem any different from all the many jeep rides that take place across the country. But all it takes is one look at the bald heads, a few black humor jokes about cancer, and the fact that some of the children had to undergo treatments even in the course of the retreat to get you to realize that this is a different kind of trip. Nevertheless, the participants did not stop singing, and at the parking lot near Moshav Ofer, the patients and Ezer Mizion counselors all started singing and dancing together. “This trip is really terrific and it gives us positive energy,” says 16-1/2 year old Nitzan Shacham, who has been dealing with cancer for the last five months. “It’s not just the trip, it’s everything Ezer Mizion has at the retreat. It’s especially the people that I’m with.”

pr canc sup camp 2015 jeep 2Dr. Bracha Zisser, Director of Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Services, summed it up: “Just imagine 160 jeeps in a long line on the beach, coming from every corner of the country to help make patients and their families feel good. It’s a day like this that reveals our people’s goodwill and ability to rally and come forward to volunteer when the time calls for it.”

pr canc sup camp 2015 jeep 3Among the participants in the jeep trip was the singer Regev Hod, who got on one of the jeeps. “I came to support and help out,” he said. “One of my friends is among the organizers of the trip. When you come here, everything in your life falls into the right proportions.

” What makes volunteer drivers devote their time and money to take part in the event? Dave Ezer, who works in real estate, started volunteering after his wife got cancer and took part in the last retreat together with the whole family. His wife has recovered since then, but Ezer does not forget for a moment the spirit of volunteering that suffused the Ezer Mizion retreat. “I saw people who took off a day of work, paid to gas up, and came to spread good cheer, and I decided that I am also going to do it. This is the second year that I’m coming as a volunteer driver.

David Golbary, who, together with his extended family, owns the fashion chain that carries their name, and Effie Zuazu, CEO of Harel Technologies, participated last week in a jeep trip for children with cancer and their families. Ben Hauman also left his business for the day and came with his jeep to volunteer. “I joined the trip after I read about it on Facebook. The way I see it, the more I give – the more I get.”

Ezer Mizion’s Camp for Cancer Patients and their Families

Yumi Dzialovsky, the head of Ezer Mizion’s cancer support hospital liaison, mentioned that “This is the biggest jeep trip that ever took place in Israel. 160 people took off from work and gave of their time and energy on a volunteer basis, all just to bring pleasure to the children. This is a true expression of the Israeli population’s strength, unity, and feeling of mutual responsibility.”
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Rx: Fun

August 6, 2015

We drove up a country road. So quiet. A chipmunk flitted across the path, the leaves gently danced in the breeze. What a contrast to the scene as I alighted from my car. Children were jumping up and down in excitement. Young parents were grabbing their children’s hands and running towards the field. Toddlers were shrieking with joy, having no idea of what the excitement was about but delighted to join in the medley of happy shouts. And what was the excitement about? It could have been so many things—a popular singer coming to entertain, the annual hands-on police demonstration of how criminals are caught, a sing-a-thon exuding camaraderie, crafts time, story hour. Today it was balloons. Each child would write his prayer on a helium balloon and, as the countdown hit zero, a myriad of colorful balloons would make their way toward the heavens.

I sat and watched. It was impossible to hold back the tears. Each of these families was battling cancer. A father, a mother, a child. It made no difference. The nightmarish trauma they faced was the same. While their friends continued their mundane lives, these heroes fought to remain alive. Every minute was filled with fear, with tension. They were bewildered, having been thrust into a world of horror, a dark tunnel that seemed to have no way out. They craved a bit of relief from the tension, a vacation from cancer, a time to recharge and strengthen their spirit. And that’s why they came.

Patients arrived at Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp for Families with Cancer in search of the vitamin pill that will enable their spirit to become a better partner to its body in their battle for life. Their families came yearning for respite, for quality time together that will comfort the longing for the normal family life that they once new and enjoyed together.

They gathered around me, anxious to express their gratitude. “My 7 year old daughter has been sick for the past 5 years. She never smiles anymore.” His voice broke. For several moments, he couldn’t speak. With tears streaming down his face, he continued, “Yesterday she smiled!” He could not stop telling me how enveloped with caring he and his wife and the other children feel at camp. “It’s like someone wrapped us in a soft blanket, and is gently stroking us and healing our emotional wounds.”

“Ezer Mizion does not miss a beat!” said another. “Non-stop activities and fun with everything looked after down to the last detail”. He went on to describe how, when the families loaded up on to buses to leave for their trip, volunteers got on each bus and gave every family a huge bag of refreshments and goodies, individual water bottles for every person, sun hats, shirts and sun screen for each camper! “The food and service was like a top resort.”

And another. “My wife and family have been through very hard times and we are not spoiled. In normal life, we don’t need the extras. But lately, we have not been living a normal life. The pampering that Ezer Mizion provides so lovingly has enabled us to let go, to relax and enjoy our children and each other. We are able to see beyond the sickness and the pain. You have given us the gift of renewed strength and hope. How can we ever thank you enough?”

A mother sat, with two healthy daughters who did not stop hugging her at each side, trying to convey to me what their lives have been like. “This is the third summer since Tamary became ill. For the past two summers, Tamary was too sick for us to attend camp. I told the Ezer Mizion staff that this year Tamary must be well enough for us to join camp! She just has to. Our family so desperately needed to experience this healing time together.

“Until you live through it you can never understand what it means to stay in the hospital for a year and two months with a very sick child. Her terrible physical pain is only surpassed by the emotional pain she, and all of us, endured, having to face what no family ever wants to even think about. This sickness has ripped us apart: no home, no food, no job, no mother, no father, no husband, no wife. Now that she is out of the hospital and at home, I am at a loss. I don’t even know how to begin putting it all together again.

“Tamary is baruch Hashem doing better but she still has a long way to go. More treatments , more rehab. But at least we are at home, all together. Ezer Mizion has been at our side all along. Volunteers to do the housework, others to take the kids shopping for new clothes and school supplies, still others to do homework with the kids, delicious, attractively arranged meals, rides to and from the hospital and unbelievable emotional support even when we didn’t realize how much we needed it. And now this unforgettable camp! This experience is giving me hope that someday we will be normal again…”

There I stood amid the atmosphere of irrepressible “campy” excitement coupled with the underlying deep sense of calm. I felt both proud and humbled to have had a part in its creation.

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Back to School

September 17, 2014

Netanel and Aviel’s parents are neighbors-just a two minute walk from each other. They are good friends but their boys are four years apart and, up until recently didn’t have much in common. Now they do. What can a ten-year-old have in common with a six –year-old, you ask. The answer is chilling.
Last year they each watched from the window as their friends mounted the school bus. Their knapsacks remained forlorn in a corner while their owners spent grueling days receiving chemo.
It was a difficult year. A frightening year. An agonizing year. As the chemo did its job on their bodies, their spirits often fell to the lowest point. That’s where Ezer Mizion would come canc sup Back to School Netanel and Aviel OK 10378197_358273767658899_1275031744684346639_n
Play therapy in many forms helped them to cope with the nightmare that had taken over their lives. Their favorite was Animal Therapy when they got to care for cuddly pets who became their best friends.
As is well-known in medical science, a happy spirit becomes a powerful partner in helping the body fight its battles. Towards that goal, there were birthday parties, trips, fun days, retreats. The highlight is always Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp for Cancer Patients and their Families. Behind the scenes, all medical needs are taken care of with the utmost precision enabling the families to enjoy a vacation from cancer-every moment filled with fun, fun, fun. What a change from IV poles and hospital walls to, for instance, a surprise visit by the Border Police. (more…)