Ezer Mizion, a leader in the field of Alternative and Augmentative Communication, recently hosted a major conference whose purpose was to bring the latest innovations to both professionals and family members. The plight of those who were never given or who have lost their ability to speak has long been on Ezer Mizion radar.
Life goes on. Minor ups. Minor downs. Only the expected appears on the horizon. Day after day. Year after year. Until suddenly a violent gust swoops down and grabs you like a ferocious tornado. It picks you up from your familiar life and hurls you into a world of terror, of helplessness, of bewilderment. You feel like a tiny child, lost in a busy department store with no mommy to hold your hand.
In recent years, Ezer Mizion has tried to be that ‘mommy’, providing the emotional, psychological and practical support for those that have suddenly been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Both they and their families find themselves in a maelstrom of fears with no coping mechanism in place. A center to turn to for support was sorely needed. Thus was born Ezer Mizion’s Division for Support of Cancer Patients and their Families. Countless letters are received from grateful families using the words: We never could have made it through without Ezer Mizion.
Encouragement from one who has ‘been there’ is extremely strengthening and that is why Pascale Berkowitz was invited to speak at Ezer Mizion’s Division for Cancer Support. Pascale had lost both of her legs in a horrifying train accident when she was sixteen years old. From one day to the next she went from being a bouncy teen, ready to conquer the world to being unable to fend for herself in basic ADL’s. In front of her were two roads – allowing herself to fall into the abyss of self-pity or moving forward from her new reality. With her i-can-do-it personality, Ms. Berkowitz chose the high road. Continue reading Devastated by Cancer…and Alone?
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 they are doing, time and time again, to help out a Jew in need… this is Jewish 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.
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.
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
Jewish 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 Jewish compassion provides the electricity that makes the wheels go ‘round.
April 2017 – BMDR ACTIVITY SUMMARY 31 lifesaving transplants 21 from personalized donor pools 2,463 total transplants 856,257 members in registry
Below are the donor pools that saved lives this month, and their total transplants.
Alan Cohen Donor Pool – 76 lives saved David & Sara Farajun Donor Pool – 79 lives saved – 5 this month! Tommy & Yehudit Farkas Donor Pool – 1 life saved Hole In One Donor Pool – 20 lives saved – 2 this month! Leora Kuhillow Donor Pool – 9 lives saved Manny & Mojdeh Malekan Donor Pool – 1 life saved Irving & Cherna Moskowitz Donor Pool – 21 lives saved Ronald O. Perelman Donor Pool – 28 lives saved Rolf & Ruth Redlauer Donor Pool – 6 lives saved Dudu & Chagit Saada Donor Pool – 1 life saved Alan & Nicole Samson Donor Pool – 7 lives saved Ephriam & Devora Schreiber Donor Pool – 1 life saved Farzad & Sheila Shahery Donor Pool – 2 lives saved Shva Company Donor Pool – 5 lives saved Wiener, Widawsky, Rebenwurzel Donor Pool in memory of Shmuel and Yaffa Herman – 1 life saved Marjorie & Arnold Ziff Donor Pool (Anne Manning’s Donor Pool) – 1 life saved
Maor Cohen is a highly sensitive man who is known at Ezer Mizion as Mr. Lego. He raises the spirits of both children and adults battling life-threatening diseases with his Lego Workshop in addition to his hospital visits to those who cannot attend the workshop. Many have asked how he manages to create deep relationships that are too often broken when his ‘lego-friends’ leaves this world. Below is his answer. Continue reading “For You Remember All Things Forgotten” by Maor Cohen
Does Ezer Mizion provide transplants to Israel residents only?
Ezer Mizion receives Search Requests from oncology clinics around the globe. DNAmatching 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.
Due 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.
Giving. 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 people 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 person in trouble.
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.
Medical science has made great strides with illnesses that, not too long ago, afforded very little hope for the patient. In some cases, even the ‘man on the street’ has become part of the remedy. Bone marrow transplants are a case in point. Bone marrow transplants have become the cure for a wide variety of life-threatening diseases ranging from many types of cancer to immunodeficiency syndromes and anemias.
In recent years, a bone marrow transplant has been proven to be the cure for a myriad of diseases. Many forms of cancer including leukemia andlymphoma in addition to other diseases such assickle cell anemia andSCID are only some of the life-threatening illnesses that have bowed to its power. Like penicillin, a bone marrow transplant can save lives. But unlike penicillin, it cannot simply be purchased at the local pharmacy.