When Numbers Become People

numbers
Cancer patients: Not a number but real people!

Everyone knows that the number of cancer patients has skyrocketed. Studies give us numbers but it’s hard to empathize with a number. So let’s meet some of the people behind the numbers. Like J.G.. He’s young with two kids, aged 5 and 7. He works as a massage therapist and personal trainer. But for a long period, he wasn’t able to work at all. Actually that’s not true. He was working very hard to remain positive during his stint with chemo. “It was tough,” he says. “The hardest part was being away from my kids. They were living their lives and I couldn’t share it. I just ached for that hug around the knees when I would open the door. I thought that after chemo, I’d be done but the doctors told me I needed a bone marrow transplant. They were not too encouraging as I had an unusual chromosome and they felt it would be difficult to find me a genetic match. So here i was, a father of 2 small kids and being told that I probably will not be here to watch them grow up. Well, let me tell you, Ezer Mizion found me not one match but 4. I try to give back to others now but it can never be enough to pay back Ezer Mizion for what they did for me.”

RH 19 interviews - Rita Soyka
Formerly a cancer patient. Now doing just fine!

R.S. is a middle-aged, upbeat lady with a bouncy personality. “Who, me?” she thought to herself when her doctor sent her to a hematologist. She had come in for a routine physical and her blood count was a bit high. Her daughter-in-law, who is a physician, later said she never would have sent a patient to a hematologist for such a low count but Rita is eternally grateful that her doctor was the cautious type.

Things began to heat up at this point with test after test and each doctor looking more serious. It was lymphoma. Rita was devastated. “My heart was pounding as each test was done. I calmed down when the team presented a plan for me. It made me feel secure and they assured me that things looked good. Facing the unknown was so hard.  I made a conscious decision not to fall apart. I tried to think only about what I had to do, not get emotional over the future. I would tell anyone newly diagnosed- Stay focused, Take it one day at a time. Be proactive and check out a/t that looks questionable. If you live in a small town, don’t be satisfied with the medical care available. Seek out the best even if you have to relocate temporarily. And, above all, don’t give up.”

RH 19 interviews - Steve Pomerantz - art only
Positive, cheery, upbeat–that’s me, these days. The cancer is history.

S.P. was diagnosed in 1998 and given 10-15 years to live. He had three kids ranging from two to nine. Even the oldest was not told what is going on. They just knew that their father wasn’t feeling well sometimes.   “Boy, was that an understatement. The side effects of the meds were horrendous, including depression and suicide tendencies. I found out later that most people on these meds take disability but I’m the type that doesn’t give up so I kept on working.  This treatment wasn’t given until many years later, in 2014. By this time, I was newly remarried and my kids were adults, not getting along very well with their stepmother. There I was, lying there helpless and having to listen to the people I loved most argue with each other regarding my medical decisions.  Not fun. But things are great now. I had my transplant.  I’m much stronger and my family has gelled.  We’re all on the same page.

I used to be very involved in sports. Those days are gone for now but I have a new hobby. I’ve discovered painting. I find creating watercolor designs to be very satisfying. And the results are quite good if I do say so myself.”

Three real people. Three real people who were floating through life until they reached a bump in the road. They could be your neighbors. Or your cousin’s neighbors. Stay tuned till next week when we will meet with more.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Because of You!

pr bmr cell bag

October 2019BONE MARROW DONOR REGISTRY ACTIVITY SUMMARY
Milestone this month!

999,268 Members of the Registry. 559,854 of those who joined registry via the IDF

33 transplants, 27 of these from donor pools
3,362 total transplants   (of these 2,078 joined the registry as part of their induction to the IDF)

Transplant Countries
Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland,
Portugal, Spain, Turkey, UK, USA

Donor Pool Countries
Canada, Israel, Mexico, UK, USA

 

Donor Pool Name October 2019 Transplants Total Transplants
ABS Settlement 1 15
Blood Brothers 1 8
René & Susanne Braginsky 1 6
Brazil Community 2 178
Damaghi Family 1 72
Englewood Community 1 1
Erotex Ltd. 1 1
David & Sara Farajun 2 129
Florida 1 9
Hole In One 1 53
Don Marcos & Sra. Adina Katz 1 73
Joe & Carmella Klein 1 17
Andy & Bassy Lowinger 1 4
Modiin Youth 1 1
David Monderer 1 1
Nitzan Community 2 6
George & Pamela Rohr 3 74
Dan & Gloria Schusterman 1 19
Moshe Mordechai & Rivka Dalia Shoob 1 1
Stu’s 1 3
Avi & Shoshi Weinroth 1 4
Maurice & Vivienne Wohl Philan. Fndn. 1 27
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Our Holocaust Heroes

kosel
90 Holocaust Heroes come ‘home’.

In a powerful Ezer Mizion event, in collaboration with the Kotel Heritage Foundation, ninety holocaust survivors, together with their families, were brought to the kosel, some for the very first time.   They were welcomed by the ceremonial salute by a platoon of soldiers followed by an inspiring musical performance. The event included a visit to the “Chain of Generations” display after which each survivor approached the wall in heartfelt gratitude and prayer. Each participant deeply felt his connection as part of the ‘chain of generations’ so grateful to have been given the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

 

holocaust - yellow star
A void never filled in the soul of a holocaust survivor

The group then parted with the kosel and made its way to Aish Hatorah Yeshiva where a festive celebration for the ‘Bas Mitzvah girls’ took place. One may rightly question the existence of a group of Bas Mitzvah girls within an assemblage of .  The answer is both sad yet uplifting. You see, for so many of these survivors, there had been no childhood. They missed out on all the milestones that our generation takes for granted. Many holocaust survivors have built anew and are now successful heads of multi-generational families. But there in the recesses of their being lies the childhood that never was. They don’t speak about it. An adult would feel foolish expressing her regret over never having had the opportunity to play with dolls. But it’s there. Or rather, it is not there. A void that cannot be filled. Among themselves, the sorrow may come up in conversation. And at one other place: an Ezer Mizion Social Club for Holocaust Survivors. It was there that an idea was born.

As these heroes attend their grandchildren’s Bas and Bar Mitzvahs, their hearts are filled with pride. Yet there lurks that germ of regret. “I missed mine.”

A formal celebration during the Golden Years has been found to serve as closure for the childhood celebrations lost in the wisps of crematoria smoke. Call it a Bas Mitzvah. Call it a closure of sorts. It helps to put to rest, once and for all, a few of the demons that still invade in their souls.

And so the long awaited day came to an end.  It was a stirring and powerful event for the hundreds gathered there, an event greatly enhanced by the moving words of Ezer Mizion’s Founder and International Chairman, Rav Chananya Chollak. It was a day made possible by the cooperation of so many Ezer Mizion Transportation Division and Geriatric Division staff members whose dedication ensured that every detail be perfect. It was a day in which we, the younger generation, were given the opportunity to show honor and respect to our holocaust heroes.

 

DONATE-TODAY-BUTTON-3

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Letters to Brothers

bmr 8 19
Our heroes as they donated their stem cells to save a life

A young man sits in a chair for hours. He is attached to a machine that is filtering stem cells from his blood.  It’s a comfortable chair and his every need is met. But there is a yearning within him that cannot be satisfied. Soon a little bag of his stem cells will be brought to a different floor where someone is waiting. He has never met that someone. He knows no more than the gender and age of the someone but he feels a deep connection. He knows the someone is feeling  tremendous tension at this moment and he longs to reassure him and tell him that it is going fine and he will soon be receiving that little bag of life.  He so much would want to be there at that moment when the bag arrives and life – his life – is transplanted into the someone. He wants to hold hands during the moments when they will be becoming blood brothers.

But he can’t. It’s not allowed. Something about international law. They will not be allowed to meet for at least a year. His yearning is strong. It must be satisfied at last partially. So he does the next best thing. He communicates. He writes a note.

 How are you?

pr bmr machine w bags 1489_ne_photo_stories2_e8667
Stem cells being separated from blood to be transplanted in cancer patient

I’m A., from the bone marrow donation.

I thought that perhaps I’d tell you a little bit about myself, so we could begin to get acquainted with each other — only if you want to, of course.

I’m 24, married to R. and waiting, at this very time, for our first birth, G-d willing. I am studying at Yeshivat Ohr Etzion and my wife is a ninth grade homeroom teacher at the Ulpanah.

I served in the army in the paratroopers’ unit. It was in the army that what brought us together took place — the donation.

Let me tell you a bit of how it was on my part.

One Sunday, I got a call from Ezer Mizion, asking me to get back to them. Already then, I started getting excited: Maybe I was lucky enough to have been found to be a match for a donation?

Indeed, they informed me on the phone that an initial match was found between us for a donation. I felt as if I’d won the lottery, and even more; it was such a great privilege.

Of course, I did the entire process, which you probably are more familiar with than I am, and the whole thing is going smoothly and easily.

Wishing you robust health and much happiness!

There are many donations taking place in Ezer Mizion’s new state of the art Harvesting Center. Next door another note is being written.

Dear patient,

I am sure that you have gone through tough things. First of all, I want you to know that you are a real hero! To fight this cursed illness and not to give up is not something that is self-understood.

I hope that the stem cell transplant will help you carry on an easy, free, and normal life. I hope that you recover as fast as possible and that you will be able to return to your family, children, and grandchildren (if you have any).

May you know only happiness, good health, joy, success, and, most important, optimism. Enjoy life and utilize it well, because who knows better than you do that we only have one life to live.

I hope that, one day, I’ll be able to meet you and get to know you.

With great love to you whom I have never met but already feel to be a brother ,

 

Your donor

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Why Home?

 

pr golden - 1 wish - Dora and daughter -beach trip-4
A day of memories for 2 holocaust survivors

They’re locked in their own world, unable to express themselves. Unable to benefit from daily communication with those around them, their ability to look upon themselves as individuals begins to fade and slowly dissipates. Their unique personalities become only a memory in the minds of those who knew them well.  Continue reading Why Home?

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Because of You!

pr bmr neria donating
Ezer Mizion’s new Harvesting Center

September 2019BONE MARROW DONOR REGISTRY ACTIVITY SUMMARY
35 transplants, of these 30 from donor pools
3,329 total transplants
(of these, 2,052 joined the registry as part of their induction to the IDF)
999,268 members in registry (keep an eye on that number!)
(of these, 558,198 joined the registry as part of their induction to the IDF) Continue reading Because of You!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

A Little Sliver of Gold

pr golden 1 wish - spa d
A holocaust survivor is given a ‘day at the spa’

She led a full life. Her days were filled with giving to others. Her children, neighbors, friends.  Satisfying days. Neither did she neglect herself. Every so often she would recharge with a trip to the spa. A manicure. A facial. A great way to provide energy for herself as a giver. So relaxing. And it felt so good to be looking her best.

It’s all over now. No more giving. No more nurturing.  And no more pampering beauty treatments. No more anything. Just tasteless days at the nursing home. One day following the next. Each exactly the same. Continue reading A Little Sliver of Gold

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Cancer Support with a Vro-o-o-m

pr canc sup ballooon motorcycle
Cancer support with a vro-o-o-om

Cancer is frightening. It’s a nightmare that even Mommy’s hug can’t make go away. The child, and often his siblings, are often paralyzed with fear.   A relaxed, happy frame of mind, so vital to the battle he must wage, seems so far, far away.   Even an itty bitty smile becomes a distant stranger to the tiny face that mirrors only terror and pain.

Ezer Mizion cannot cure the cancer but we will move heaven and earth to create a giggle. Professional staff and volunteers spend hours creating programs that bring happiness to the cancer patient and his whole family, to lighten their burden both practically and emotionally. Ideas abound. Birthday parties, trips, story hour, music clubs, lego sessions, even a petting zoo. And recently balloons. Continue reading Cancer Support with a Vro-o-o-m

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

When Dropping the Ball Saves Lives

golf 19 1st prize ball drop - split the pot.msg
First Prize Ball Drop Winner Receives 30% of Pot

Hundreds of eyes were turned toward the sky. Waiting…for the ball to drop. Ezer Mizion’s Golf Tournament added a new feature to its annual event. The day had been glorious. golf 19 10The weather perfect.  Now all players gathered to watch as a bucket truck-cherry picker lifted its bucket 200 feet above the green and dropped 701 golf balls that had been purchased by those participating in Ezer Mizion’s life saving mission. golf 19 11“Where would my ball drop? Would this be my chance to get a Hole in One?” “That was one of the coolest things I have ever seen at a golf tournament!” was heard from so many. Continue reading When Dropping the Ball Saves Lives

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail