Posts Tagged ‘Jewish’

Compassion Makes the Wheels Go ‘Round

May 10, 2017

When staff really cares. When it’s not just a job…punch in/punch out. When the CEO gives out his cell number to recently orphaned children telling them to call anytime (and they do). When volunteers are inspired to drop what thepr general hel;ioong hand in darky are doing, time and time again, to help out a someone in need… this is compassion at its best.

Sometimes it requires the utmost sensitivity. Like the kallah (bride) whose chassan (groom) was discovered shortly before the wedding to have leukemia. The wedding was rescheduled and the newlywed couple tried to build a home, albeit in a different way than planned, together. Ezer Mizion supported them in every way. The nightmare is over now. Please look over our shoulder, dear reader and supporter, as we read together the letter sent to the Ezer Mizion office. It is your gifts that enable Ezer Mizion to continue being the strong, dependable pillar for so many to lean on.

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An grateful thank you letter from our files

To the Fantastic, Special Organization: Ezer Mizion!

First of all, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your boundless giving and support, which helped us and gave us the tools we needed to get through a most difficult period, physically strong and emotionally healthy.

About two years ago, we got engaged, b’sha’ah tovah u’mutzlachat. The engagement period passed by pleasantly, filled with many hopes and dreams about the home that we would build together and the happy life we would share.

We do not know Hashem’s (G-d’s) calculations, but we do know that everything He does is for the best. And so, a month before our wedding, my husband was diagnosed with leukemia.

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Ezer Mizion, Israel

Suddenly, everything looked different… The wedding was pushed up to take place a few days later, and immediately afterwards, we began treatment. The physical and emotional pain and the challenges involved in these treatments are too complex to describe…

Amid all the agony and frustration, the Ezer Mizion team – a marvelous organization unmatched in its unfaltering assistance and support – appeared on the scene, truly loyal messengers. They helped us in countless ways, both practical and emotional. They were always there, even before we realized we needed something.

Ezer Mizion wisely and gently set us up with an expert therapist, which, in our sensitive situation, was truly a lifesaver!! She listened, supported, encouraged, and counseled us. She baruch Hashem (thank G-d) helped us in this very delicate situation, not to break down, but to remain happy, strong, optimistic, and full of emunah (faith), using our challenge to grow and form an even closer bond.

Again, we feel eternally grateful to those who were behind all this outpouring of chessed- those who helped, those whose financial support enabled this help…

We give you our heartfelt blessings that you should always be on the giving end, in good health, joy and happiness, and may Divine assistance accompany you in all your endeavors.

With our greatest appreciation,

Moshe and Chedvah

 

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Cancer Support via What’s App

 Compassion…Sometimes it requires the flexibility of changing plans at the drop of a hat. A family with three small children recently emigrated to Israel from France. Resettling was hard enough but became overwhelming when the wife was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. Rides to the clinic, professional emotional support, regular meals, child care assistance, medical advocacy would all be theirs in a short time.  But right now, this morning when Ezer Mizion became aware of their plight, they needed lunch. Food strengthens the body. Food invigorates the soul. Food enables the family to handle the crisis suddenly thrust upon them. And no lunch was yet on schedule.  A call went out to volunteers: I know it’s very short notice but can anyone provide a hot lunch for five people today and for the next two days? In 1.5 minutes, that’s ninety seconds (!), one of our angels responded. A delicious, attractively served lunch was prepared by one volunteer, delivered by another to the family on time as if it were weeks in the preparation.

Ezer Mizion: where caring and compassion provides the electricity that makes the wheels go ‘round.

Would you like to join the ‘wheel of compassion’?

 

Many of You Have Asked…

May 4, 2017

Does Ezer Mizion provide transplants to Israel residents only?

 

people helping people around globeEzer Mizion receives Search requests form oncology clinics around the globe. DNA matching is based on ethnics. As the largest Jewish Registry in the world, Ezer Mizion is the natural address for an oncology clinic working with a Jewish patient in Europe, Russia, South Africa, South America, Australia, Canada and the US.

 

In April 2017, 14 of 31 transplants were done for Israeli residents and 17 for countries around the world including 6 in US and Canada.

 

Did the partnership with the IDF create any significant change in the success of finding DNA matches?

 

idf-celebration-2016-aDue to IDF recruits being young and healthy, they remain on the database for decades, thus greatly increasing the chances of eventually being found to be a match for a patient. In addition, they come from highly varied backgrounds resulting in much increased representation among minority ethnic groups.

 

In April 2017, 18 of the 21 transplants funded by donor pools are IDF recruits, some having been inducted and joined the registry just a; few months ago.

 

How long, on the average, does it take for a new Bone Marrow Donor Pool to receive the at long awaited letter: You have saved a life!

 

There can, of course, be no guarantees. In April of 2017, 4 of the 21 transplants funded by donor pools were opened within the last half year.

The Kakoon Family- A Valued Ezer Mizion Partner

May 3, 2017

Kakoon Family ok to use - Dassy- fGiving. It’s the wheel that makes the world go around. Some people have discovered its joys and thrive on ‘being there’ for a friend or neighbor with a problem. The Kakoons are such a family.  Avrohom Kakoon acts as a chazzan (cantor) and spiritual leader at his shul (synagogue). In his spare time, he also volunteers as an emergency respondent for Hatzalah. His wife, Rina, volunteers as a doula, coaches new mothers and young families in managing their home and in parenting, and also cooks and bakes for families of women after birth. As infants, their seven children imbibed the satisfaction that accompanies giving and the sense of responsibility for those less fortunate.  Helping families after birth, running a used clothing center, mentoring youngsters in the community. Driving an ambulance, heading a branch of United Hatzalah, helping out families in the community who are undergoing crises, activity clubs for young people in the community.  The Kakoon siblings are involved in all of these. How can they not be? It was the ambience in the home they grew up in.

When the family discovered Ezer Mizion, they clicked with the organization like a magnet to a paper clip. An entity that does not recognize 9-5 hours, whose founder routinely gives out his private cell phone number to recently orphaned children and tells them to call anytime, whose teenage volunteers vie with their friends to obtain an unpaid position in Ezer Mizion’s summer camp for special kids… Ezer Mizion was the perfect partner for the Kakoons.

They helped out in any way they could. One has even undertaken to head the Ezer Mizion’s Modi’in Linked to Life   group and another its counterpart in the Migdal HaEmek area. Linked to Life is a What’s App Center which connects Jews throughout Israel and even Europe, the US and Canada in order to provide for the needs of people around the globe. A surgical device is needed and can’t wait for regular mail. A man from Eretz Yisroel forgot his vital medication and realizes it only when he a several thousand feet in the air, on his way to California. A wheelchair-bound young man living in the North would like to spend Pesach with his family in Jerusalem and needs a ride in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Hundreds of people like this are constantly being helped by heads of groups like the Kakoons and the volunteers who drop what they are doing at a buzz of their phone and race out to help a fellow Jew.

Avrohom and Rina planted strong seeds which continue to flourish into the next generation. Last summer vacation, while her peers were having fun in the pool and park, Avivah, a granddaughter, discovered another kind of fun. She gathered a group of friends and set up a refreshment stand. The girls popped popcorn and prepared gallons of drinks to sell to passersby. The money? It was donated to Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division to help sick children, of course. Ezer Mizion welcomes Avivah as its newest volunteer and awaits her latest ideas to help those less fortunate than herself. Congratulations, Avivah! You have discovered the much sought after key to happiness.

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: www.ezermizion.org              5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219             718 853 8400

The See-Saw Remains on Up

April 26, 2017

DNA 3Everyone dreams about it. Very few ever have the opportunity. I was one of those very few. True, I didn’t jump into the ocean and save a child from drowning or dash into a burning building to save a baby but I did save a life. A forty-year-old cancer patient had only one chance to survive—a bone marrow transplant. A genetic match is vital for success and I was that genetic match. An Ezer Mizion staff member asked me if I would do it. Would I do it???! How could I not do it?! How could I live the rest of my life knowing that because of a little discomfort, a little inconvenience, a young woman was prevented from living the rest of hers?

Thus said N.D. a law student residing in Israel.

Plans were made. Appointments were set. I was given a run-down of what to expect and all was set to go until I received the phone call. Ezer Mizion thanked me for agreeing to donate but was cancelling the procedure. The woman’s condition had taken a turn for the worse and she was not in any condition to receive the transplant.

I was crushed. By this time, I was identifying with this anonymous person as if she were a close member of my family. And she would be. It would be my blood that would be coursing through her veins. And now it was not to be. I pictured her lying on her death bed with her family gathered around her. I wanted to be there with them. I wanted to hug her and tell her I’m so sorry. Instead I just stood there, still holding the phone. Numb. I read the obituaries for weeks after that, wondering at each entry, “Was that her?”

I was very involved in my university courses at the law school. It was in the middle of major exams when Ezer Mizion appeared once again on my display screen. “Your patient’s condition has improved. She can handle a transplant now but it must be done immediately. Are you available to begin the prep?”

The test I had studied all night for. The notes I had just copied for next week’s test. Grades. Reports… All meaningless now. All I wanted to know is what time I should be there.

My mother was even more excited than I was. She had had cancer at a similar age and is healthy now. She felt that by her daughter donating marrow, she would have a chance to ‘give back’.

At Schneider’s Hospital, I was told I would need 4-5 days of injections to increase the stem cells in my body. On the big day, my blood would be drawn, the stem cells separated from it, then returned to my body. This would continue all day until enough stem cells had accumulated. Then the little ‘bag of life’ would be infused into my ‘blood-sister’. We would be in the same hospital but we would not meet due to international law. Oh, how I longed to hold her hand during the procedure! But I would have to be patient. If all goes well, we’d be allowed to meet in two years.

I can’t deny that the injection period was uncomfortable but every ache was erased   when I watched them bring that little bag to its destination.

I was told that we were a 100% DNA match. Very unusual, they said. Now I lie in bed wondering who my DNA twin is. An unknown cousin perhaps? In one year, I am allowed to ask about her condition. Just knowing that she is healthy will be enough for me. And, if she is willing, in two years, I may meet the person who is alive because I didn’t say no.

Watching the Grandchildren Grow Up…Together: A DNA Success Story

April 5, 2017

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How does one say ‘Thank You’ for saving a life?!

her early sixties, Chava was a young grandmother to seven grandchildren. She was looking forward to many milestones in the future until she discovered that her future was very uncertain indeed. Twelve years ago, she had been diagnosed with lymphoma. A self-transplant of stem cells resulted in a cure and the nightmare seemed to be over until several years later the disease returned.  Would there be a cure this time? Only if a transplant can be performed using the stem cells of a genetically matching donor. The procedure was not difficult but finding this mysterious donor whose DNA corresponded to hers seemed to be nothing short of miraculous. He could be any place where Jews of her ethnic group have settled…South America, Canada, US, Australia, Europe. Anywhere. The first step was to contact Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish registry in the world with its database of over 800,000 potential donors.  And, lo and behold, there he was, right there in Israel.

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Will a life saving DNA match be found?

Meir Pulver (43) spends his days protecting Israel’s population. He is Chief Superintendent of Israel’s Police Force. But that was not enough for this caring father of three. He wanted to do more. When he came across a request to join Ezer Mizion’s International Jewish Bone Marrow Registry, he didn’t hesitate. An opportunity to save a life? Of course. Who would not want to join? It would just take a little bit of his time. And so a few minutes filling out paperwork, a painless cheek swab and he was on his way.  Little did he realize that in only a short while, he would receive the momentous phone call: You have a chance to save a life!

There was further testing. In one home in Israel the air was electric. Would Meir truly be able to save a Jewish life? And in the other home, tensions ran high. Would a matching donor ever be found? And then the phone rang. In two homes. Almost simultaneously. Yes! Yes! An excellent DNA match.

Now things began to move quickly and it was not long before Meir’s cells were circulating in Chava’s veins. “Two days before my birthday, I found out that the stem cell donation I’d received had been accepted and my body had started producing its own cells,” she relates. “I felt as if I was reborn.” Chava’s husband is thrilled to have his wife back once again healthy and in great spirits after the very agonizing period they both went through. Together they look forward to watching their grandchildren grow up.  Meir’s father had recently passed away and he felt doubly blessed at being able to both save a life and provide merit for his father’s soul during the first year of mourning.

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Ezer Mizion: Where cancer is being eradicated- one life at a time

International law does not allow donor and recipient to meet until after one year and so the two families waited, counting the days and yearning to express themselves. The meeting took place a few weeks ago in the Ezer Mizion Cancer Support Building. Chava’s family gathered and began watching the door. Soon it opened. The two groups were drawn to each other like magnets. How could it be otherwise when the blood of one flows through the other. “We met an amazing person. A humble, noble young man,” said Chava’s family.

Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry was established about 20 years ago  and today, includes 841,356 potential donors. Thanks to the Registry, 2,350 lifesaving transplants have already taken place. We’re one family with Jews around the world contributing funds to do the DNA testing, enabling every person to be a partner in saving human lives. This is our essence – each Jew responsible for his neighbor.

From Itai with Love

March 18, 2015

Itai Sadeh was a fun-loving guy as were his friends. Fun combined with a creative flair has led to some really good practical jokes. But this one left a bad taste in his mouth. Joking about a kid with cancer just wasn’t funny. It had to be a joke though. It couldn’t be real could it? He had just received a phone call that he was a genetic match to a little girl with cancer and she needed his bone marrow to save her life. He went along with the joke and gave his ok for someone at the registry to call him. The call came in shortly after that. It …it was real. His friends could never sound so professional. Then he remembered that he had registered with Ezer Mizion when he was inducted into the army. There really was a little girl out there whose life depended on him. He was told that the ball was now in his court. “Of course, I agreed. How could I not!”
At one of the first appointments, Sadeh learned that the little girl was suffering from leukemia. “They also told me that most likely, without the donation, she would not survive. I gulped when I heard that. I was also told that I would be able to meet her about a year later, but only in the event that the transplant was a success-I couldn’t bear to think of the other possibility- and that she and her family agreed to the meeting. They told me that the girl already knows a compatible donor was found and that there was a chance I would agree to it. Oh, how I ached to reassure her that very minute that, of course, I would do it. In the short time that I had known Ezer Mizion, I could see that they really cared and I knew they would do it for me. ”
He was told that he had to undergo various tests to check if there was perfect compatibility between him and the patient.
Sadeh did not hesitate for a moment. The opportunity to save a life was too important to refuse. “I didn’t have the slightest doubt that I wanted to go through with the donation. The people around me at the base and at home also gave me a lot of encouragement and support,” he added.
Over the last few months, Sadeh underwent a number of different tests, culminating with a four-hour donation procedure that might save the young cancer patient’s life. “The week before the donation, I started getting home injections that weakened me and caused flu-like symptoms, like bone and chest aches. But what is a bit of flu when compared to a little girl with cancer, who has to go through chemotherapy?” said Sadeh. “In the worst case scenario, I’ll be under the weather a few days.”
At the end, test results showed that Sadeh was a perfect match and preparations for the donation went into high gear. “In the course of the process, I thought a lot about the girl and about how I was giving her a chance to continue living. I want very much to meet her,” says Sadeh. “I am really interested to see that everything is all right with her and that the procedure was successful. When I do, I suppose I’ll ask her how she’s feeling and what she thinks of my blood. Was she telling more jokes than she used to? If I could, I would do the whole thing again. I think this is the first time I am contributing to another person, certainly in such a major way,” he points out. “It feels good.”
For further info: http://www.ezermizion.org

Thank G-d It’s Gone!

April 17, 2013

 

The Story of the Biggest Helping the Smallest

 

A frightening diagnosis, loss of hair, and the constant fear that the disease would return…  four children who overcame cancer with the help of bone marrow transplants facilitated by Ezer Mizion and a very strong determination… 

“It was in the middle of sixth grade when I noticed a strange lump in my armpit. At first they thought I had appendicitis but I heard the doctor say those words-the words everyone is scared of. I had questions but the biggie-you know what I mean- I couldn’t even ask, not even to myself. ”

So began the battle of 17-year-old Amit Kalmanowitz overcoming the disease no less than three times (!) in the course of just five years.

“It’s hard even for me to get my head around this story even though I lived it,” Kalmanowitz confesses, as he recalls the moment when he discovered that the illness had attacked his body for the third time. “I was in music camp with my class, on the beach at Caesarea. At some point, I sat alone on the sand, watching the sunset. I had a gnawing, undefined bad feeling. Something was not right but I didn’t understand what.  It was only when I got home that I realized the cancer was back. Again. I needed treatment immediately.  Being so busy was actually a good thing. It didn’t let me think. About you know what.  I didn’t even have time to digest the fact that life may go on for all those around me but I may not be there. The trick is to know how to keep going, without self-pity and without anger. You want to get away but you can’t get away. You are the cancer and the cancer is you. You understand at that moment that this is what was decreed for you and there is no place to run. You have no choice  but to think positive.”

Ten-year-old Yonatan Dor from Nes-Ziona will never forget his eighth birthday. “I had a hacking, dry cough,” he remembers. “I noticed a swollen gland in my neck and showed it to my Mom. We went to the doctor and he sent us straight to the Emergency Room. I didn’t really understand what was going on, but within a few hours, I found myself already in a room, hooked up to an IV. It hurt a lot. My parents didn’t want me to have to sleep with the hospital blankets, and they brought me my quilt from home, but I still was all worked up. It turned out that I had leukemia. I was really angry that this was my birthday present. I was just a little kid and didn’t really understand.”

Seven-year-old Ilai De Silva from Herzliya, his mother, and 12-year-old Binyamin Koshinsky from Petach Tikvah looked anxious to have their say. “In the case of Ilai, it was a real miracle,” his mother relates. “The disease attacked him very aggressively, requiring a bone marrow transplant. There were 11 possible donors. A few days later, I received an urgent call from the nurse to come to the hospital. I drove all the way with tears blinding my eyes. I didn’t know what to expect. She didn’t tell me. But on the way I got another call from Ezer Mizion. The person on the other end sounded so happy. I just knew it was good news. And it was. She was calling to inform me that they have a donor. Instantly, the tears were transformed into tears of happiness. A donor! Life for my little boy!

Did any of you have a chance to meet the donors?

Ilai: “Sure! My Mom screamed ‘Thank you’ at least 20 times and then started smothering the donor with kisses. I remember that we hugged, and she gave me a gift- a car with a remote control. She was really nice.”

Yonatan: “My donor gave me chocolate. But more important, he gave me life. I don’t think there is any greater gift in the world. It’s so scary to think about what would be if he hadn’t registered with Ezer Mizion.”

Kalmanowitz: “In my case, finding the donor went very quickly, something like three weeks from when they started the search. I remember how excited the doctor was. She asked me to give her a kiss. I almost did.  The truth is that to this day, I didn’t meet the donor. It’s a major step. It’s not like meeting someone to play basketball. I guess I am waiting for the right timing, when I’ll feel ready.

“I FEEL LIKE A TRUE SURVIVOR”

Binyamin joins the dialogue at this point and talks about the point when they discovered he had cancer. “My illness began when I was two and a half-years-old. I had high fever for a few days, and the doctor claimed it was a virus. Well, it wasn’t a virus or the flu or any of ‘good’ diseases. It turned out that I had leukemia. When I was seven, the disease came back. But now that I have a transplant, I hope it’s gone for good. Today, I’m happy to say, I have gotten past it. The fear isn’t there anymore. Well, not too much.  I really feel that I matured.”

What was the hardest moment during the treatments?

Binyamin: “You’d be surprised. You’d think I would be worried about dying but I guess that’s too big a worry to handle so I focused on a littler worry: how would I handle my hair falling out. They told me it might grow back differently. I hoped I would have straight hair, not curly. It didn’t exactly turn out that way…”

Ilai: “When the hair starts falling out, it was very itchy. It simply drove me batty When my Dad saw that my hair started falling out, he was ready with the haircut machine. That was a big help.”

Yonaton: “The hairs stick to every possible place except where it belongs. I was embarrassed to go out like that. I always went around with a hat.”

The foursome endured weeks, and even months of intensive treatments in the hospital which kept them out of school for long periods.

 “At first it was fantastic. I loved the fact that I didn’t have to do any schoolwork. But as time went by, I began to miss it more and more. It’s no fun to know that you’re stuck in bed or in the hospital while everyone else is having a good time,” admits Ilai.

Did you succeed in making up the work?

Kalmanowitz: “You are speaking to someone who missed half of sixth grade, a third of seventh, almost all of eighth, and all of eleventh. It was a crazy time. But, I’m happy to say, I managed to make up all the work in a snap. The problem was more the social angle. A lot of friends used to come to visit, but still, at the end of the day, you are the one who is left to cope alone with the disease. It was like we could connect up to a point but then I was left alone-the kid with cancer-while they were leading ordinary lives.

Binyamin: “TV became my best friend. It was no problem for me to miss school. It just freed up more time for me to watch some more series.”

In spite of the boys’ grinning faces, it is clear that the trauma of the illness left its mark.

“You find yourself paranoid, checking all the time for another lump, G-d forbid,” attests Kalmanowitz. “In medical lingo, they talk about needing five years of complete recovery before a person is statistically out of the woods. In my case, the cancer came back two months before the five years were up. You can’t imagine what it feels like to be so close to the finish line and have to start all over again. It’s like some of those games where your dice is close to the goal but then you draw a card that sends you sliding all the way back down.  It was crazy!

What did you learn about yourselves as a result of the illness?

Yonatan: “I understood that everyone is different. Somep[eople have this problem and others have that.  I learned to appreciate what is going on in my body. When something works, I appreciate it. Sometimes I imagine to myself that I am competing in “Survival.” I really feel like a true survivor.” 

Binyamin: “I know I’m capable of going through things I would never have thought I would be able to handle.

Kalmanowitz: “I learned that I am capable of walking through walls and that I have a lot more self-confidence. I was sure I was born into a life of pain and suffering, but somehow, I managed to get back on track. Today I can honestly say that I enjoy life every day anew. You won’t see me getting stuck on trivialities. I learned to enjoy and appreciate the small things.”

What message would you like to give other cancer patients your age?

Yonaton: “There is a line in a song by Aviv Gefen that goes everywhere with me: ‘It’s not enough to live, you have to be alive.’ You could say that this sentence summarizes everything I believe in today.

Do you have a message for the general public?

Ilai: “Maybe we should ask people to wake up and come register. And for those people living outside of Israel, it would be great if they could help with donations. Genetic testing costs a mint! I give part of my allowance to Ezer Mizion. It’s not a game. It’s to save lives. We’re the lucky ones. But there’s a lot of kids out there still waiting. I’ve met some of them.”

 

 

EZER MIZION – THE BIGGEST JEWISH REGISTRY IN THE WORLD

Ezer Mizion is the largest voluntary organization in Israel in the realm of medical support. The organization’s flagship projects, which it has been developing since its founding in 1979, include the International Bone Marrow Donor Registry. As of today, the Registry numbers more than 650,000 potential donors, making it the biggest Jewish registry in the world. Every year, the Registry receives thousands of search requests from Jewish cancer patients across the globe.

Candidates to join the registry include people in good health, aged 18-45, who have not yet joined any other such Registry. Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry has already saved the lives of more than 1,100 people and continues to so every single day. In order to continue this holy work, Ezer Mizion needs monetary assistance in funding the scanning of bone marrow samples. (The cost of scanning each sample comes to $65.)

“The stories of Ilai, Yonaatan, Amit, and Binyamin, illustrate in the best possible way the critical importance of Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry,” says Dr. Bracha Zisser, director of the organization’s Bone Marrow Registry. “All four were cancer patients who were given the gift of life thanks to compassionate people who donated to the Registry, caring people just like you.”

For further info: http://www.ezermizion.org

 

Dreams…Should they Wither and Die?

April 3, 2013

Dreams are Ageless

 

 

When the spirit has a desire but the impediments of the aged, physical body hold him back, does the dream remain suspended in space only to wither and die or…?

 

With a lifetime of relationships, a lifetime of experiences, the aged often have desires. How sad when many desires remain unfulfilled due to physical challenges.

 

A homebound senior has a brother-equally homebound-living in a distant city. They longed to meet once again, to laugh over childhood antics, to reminisce over the past and share the present. Their challenges made that impossible until a friend suggested contacting Ezer Mizion.

 

An elderly grandfather prays at home three times a day from a yellowed, aged siddur but he yearned to touch the stones of the Kotel once again. Traveling by bus, even by taxi, is impossible. Shall he forego his dream? A kindly neighbor phoned Ezer Mizion. The myriads of logistics involved did not phase Ezer Mizion. Another dream became reality.

 

A granddaughter is performing in a school production. Grandparents are invited but what if the Grandma is wheelchair-bound, needing a professional to transport her? The family called Ezer Mizion and it was Grandma who clapped the loudest in joy, in pride, and in gratitude to those who made it happen.

 

A Sephardic disabled mother is miserable. Her daughter is getting married and she will be missing the “henna”. How can it be! Not to share this precious moment with my daughter?! She called Ezer Mizion. Tears welled up in the eyes of every guest as they watched mother and daughter— together.

 

An elderly musician sits in his wheelchair dreaming of days gone by. He was a conductor. A producer of music. A creator of joy for the public. And now? Now he sits in his wheelchair and creates nothing. How he yearned to be on stage once again, a baton in his hand, guiding, producing. What an absurd dream, he told himself in his more practical moments. But spirits are not practical and dream persisted.  A word slipped here and there. Ezer Mizion understood. Wheels began to turn. Phone wires buzzed. And the day arrived. No dream could have compared to the utter joy at being given an opportunity, once again, to do what he loved best.

 

Ezer Mizion’s Ambulance Division transports thousands to doctors, to treatment centers and dialysis clinics but 70-100 slots are reserved each year to enable the spirit of the aged to thrive, to flourish, to re-experience satisfaction and joy…to Fulfill A Dream…

 

For further info: http://www.ezermizion.org

 

 

 

 

 

Israel Government Proposal to Save Lives

March 3, 2011

Proposed Law in Israel to Save Lives of Jews Worldwide

Israel’s Labor, Health and Social Services Knesset Committee has approved the proposed Bone Marrow Registry Law for a second and third reading.

According to the proposal, Israel’s national government will assist in funding local Bone Marrow Registries that are being operated by non-profit organizations. Until now, the Bone Marrow Registries were funded solely by donations and were instrumental in the cure of thousands of patients throughout the world for whom a stem cell transplant was the only hope of a cure.

Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Registry, the largest Jewish registry in the world, is located in Israel. Dr Brocha Zisser, the director of Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry, praised the decision and said, “The State’s interest must be to strengthen the Registry so that it can grant security and assure 95% of the population a chance of finding a matching bone marrow donor. This level can be achieved within a few years, with help the financial help and participation of Israel’s national government.”

Ezer Mizion has saved closed to eight hundred lives of cancer patients whose sole chance of survival had been a bone marrow transplant. To ensure success of the transplant, both donor and recipient must genetically match.  Even though the registry has grown to over half a million registrants, it is not enough and many requests are returned with the words: No Match Found, a virtual death sentence. It is essential for world Jewry that a match be available at the time of request as a cancer patient cannot wait.

The Committee Chairman, MK Chaim Katz (Likud), said that “It was my privilege to take part in approving this law that is unquestionably historic. The Committee’s insistence on putting a clearly defined budgetary allotment into the law ensures that it will function properly.”

MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) said that “The law will immediately lead to saving the lives of many people, since it will enlarge the Registry and increase the chances of finding a match for the range of cancer patients. This is a historic law, in which the government takes direct responsibility to maintain Israel’s Bone Marrow Registry and to expand it each year by about 20,000 additional samples.”

Honorary Bar Ilan Doctorate Awarded to Founder of Ezer Mizion

November 4, 2010

The chareidi alumnus of Ponovezh Yeshiva sits draped in a collegiate cap and gown alongside a former Supreme Court Justice, the advisor to the Queen of England, two Chemistry Nobel Prize winners and others who have made history in their fields. Each is being honored for their achievements with a doctorate from Bar Ilan University.

“I never planned to make history,” says Rabbi Dr. Chananya Chollak, Founder of Ezer Mizion. “I feel good when others feel good. It all began in 1979. I was just married and my father in law was ill. He was in and out of hospitals during that first year and I got to see what life is like for the ill. I met a dialysis patient who had to pay for ambulette transportation three times a week. He couldn’t afford it but what could he do? Dialysis was his lifeline. I got a few friends together and we outfitted a van with the professional equipment that he needed and we all took turns driving him. There was a young girl hospitalized with a life-threatening disease whose parents were running themselves ragged staying at her bedside. I got a few friends to volunteer shifts to give the parents a break. The original eight volunteers have grown to 11,000.”

There probably is not a single resident of Israel that hasn’t heard about Ezer Mizion and many have family members who have benefited from it at one time or another. The original ambulance has become a fleet of 18 with many volunteers using their own vehicles. The disabled, the elderly all know Ezer Mizion’s phone number and use it regularly to keep their appointments for therapy, treatments, routine medical visits and even an occasional dream trip to the Kosel or to  visit a likewise disabled family member whom they haven’t seen in years. Volunteers deliver meals prepared at Ezer Mizion’s Food Division to family keeping vigil at the hospital bedside of a loved one. Others deliver food baskets to homes of the wheelchair-bound, the cancer patient and the octogenarian desperately trying to maintain his independence. Rabbi Chollak, who lives by the motto See Something Do Something, has undertaken many other projects since the early days of his marriage. Departments dealing with the terror orphan, the speech impaired, the special child, the mentally ill and the cancer patient are just a few of the many that have sprung up like mushrooms, each division professionally run, offering the latest in hi-tech equipment and regular workshops and therapy headed by experts in their field.

Rabbi Chollak tells of a large family whose father was ill. The mother, drowning in her own sorrow, brought her whole family of eleven children just to talk. I gave the oldest child a card with my phone number and told him to call me any time. The four year old whispered in my ear, “Can I have one also? If I hear my father moaning in his sleep, can I call you?” “And do you think she didn’t call? My phone would ring many times in the middle of the night. This little girl was terrified hearing her father’s cries.”

Rabbi Chollak beams with joy when he is reminded of his Persian children. The mother was ill with cancer. We helped them with food, took the children on trips, tried to be a parent to those suffering children. There were no relatives, not even an elderly grandparent or a distant uncle. Less than two months after the mother passed away, the father began experiencing symptoms. In six months he was gone. The Social Service Department had planned to scatter the children among different families. The oldest, a twelve year old girl, came to me: “Could we live with you,” she asked in all innocence. The major burden would fall on my wife but she came through like the dedicated soldier that she is and all four were adopted as part of our family. 

No one envies Rabbi Chollak of his job as Town Major. For years, the municipal authorities have delegated the job of informing the family of the death of a loved one. It must be done and Rabbi Chollak does it- with compassion, with empathy , with love. A tear forms in his eyes as he recalls some of these visits. “Two children were on their way to visit their mother in the hospital. I was asked to meet them there as their mother was no longer among the living. It started at the time of terror attacks in the Gush Dan area. I was asked to help out in informing the families and have been doing it ever since. Having a policeman appear at the door is shocking. I try to give it to them in little pieces.”

Rabbi Chollak sits in his office on the top floor of the giant Ezer Mizion Jacob Fried Building. On the various floors, a vibrant chessed momentum in progress. Dozens of volunteers, division heads and project directors scurry through the halls and thousands of people seeking the organization’s services stream through its corridors. They come from all parts of the country- religious, secular, Ashkenazic, Sephardic. As you enter its portals, you pass the security check manned by a chareidi fellow of Persian extract, one of the four children adopted by Rabbi Chollak and his dedicated wife, Leah, in addition to their own twelve children. Each person is entitled to the full gamut of humanitarian assistance offered by the organization free of charge.

It’s the end of the day and Rabbi Chollak is drained. His eyes are bleary. He had joined a trip as ‘one of the volunteers’. His cell phone rings for the thousandth time that day. “Tomorrow I’ll meet with the head of the department to hear what else can be done. The bleeding in the brain has stopped. That’s a good sign.” he comforts the distraught family member.  The doctorate is just an honorary title. It did not turn him into a medical doctor, even though his medical knowledge is vast. But sometimes one cannot help but wonder if the honorary doctorate is more than honorary.

“What’s your opinion on the divisions between the secular and the chareidi in Israel?” he was asked. “When President Ezer Weizmann inaugurated the Oranit Center for Children with Cancer and Their Families, he said that Ezer Mizion is the bridge between the religious and the secular and he was right. We demonstrate by example that there are no barriers and that the only thing concerning us is that everyone should be healthy. One of the foremost projects is the Bone Marrow Registry. We called on the public to help save a boy in critical condition. In one day no less than 62,300 people came to the centers. Do you see polarity here? Do you see hatred? I see nothing but unity. Nobody gave any thought to differences in ethnic extraction or religious affiliation. Everyone stood quietly in line and registered to be tested as potential donors for patients they didn’t even know.”  When people try to get Rabbi Chollak to talk about division, he talks about unity. When they bring up hatred, he talks about love. His face shines with a gleaming light and it’s impossible to get him to talk about anything negative.

“This should be published. People have to know,” Rabbi Chollak is told. “I am at my office a little after eight in the morning and leave between one and two at night. Our devoted staff doesn’t know the difference between day and night. We have no time for PR. We’re too busy doing.”

http://www.ezermizion.org