An Island of Holiday Joy

The scene: Schneider Hospital in Petach Tikvah

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Cancer support to uplift the spirits and soothe the soul

Baldheaded children, solemn doctors, the smell of sadness and suffering suffusing every corner…

Everyone here is busy battling for life, sometimes against all odds.

Who has time to think about the approaching Yom Tov? The thoughts wander from upsetting test results to grueling treatments and no further.

Shavuot? A far-off dream of some previous life…blintzes frying, tiny tots singing Little Torah, an atmosphere of joy and excitement.

This year? The ambience of a holiday would do wonders for their wounded souls but no one has the emotional energy to even smile. Will Shavuot 2018 just pass over, hardly noticed ?

Unbeknown to these suffering Jews, there was a small group who understood. They understood that these families were incapable of creating their own Yom Tov but how desperately they needed the feeling of holiness, the feeling of being part of the Jewish nation.

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Cancer Support: an island of holiday ambience

And so there, with the very air at Schneider’s laden with despair, they took time off from their own preparations and broke through the hopelessness, bringing light and happiness to these suffering Jews.

In the midst of this sea of sorrow and unimaginable pain, Ezer Mizion Petach Tikvah Linked to Life volunteers set up an island of holiday joy and tranquility.

Dozens of cancer support volunteers did everything to give seriously ill patients and their families a hiatus of calm and compassion. Holiday delicacies were prepared and attractively served and individual needs were met so that each family felt, “Yes, it’s Yom Tov today.”

As one volunteer described it (translated):

I link up to you, we all link together

And in just a matter of minutes

One cake is added to another

One dessert joins the next

Kugel after kugel is baked

And families of seriously ill patients will be able to enjoy delicacies this Shavuot too!

 

Allow us to dedicate the following to you, our precious volunteers:

“Rav Zeira (an ancient sage)said: This megillah (Ruth) – why was it written? To teach you the great reward of those who do chessed, loving kindness”

 

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Bar Mitzvah Celebration?

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Bar Mitzvah celebration?

A young mother in Rechasim is battling cancer but that doesn’t stop the date of her son’s Bar Mitzvah from coming closer and closer. What the family had looked forward to for years promises to be a day of despair. Celebration? How does one celebrate when…when…? And so the days on the calendar rolled on and the Bar Mitzvah was scheduled for a Sunday in mid-April. Bar Mitzvah? One hundred people were invited but there was no joy. Both finances and mood precluded ordering any amenities including food! A bleak celebration indeed.   Continue reading Bar Mitzvah Celebration?

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Of Saving Lives and Beeping Phones

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Meir Quinn, Director of Linked to Life Saving Lives around the Globe

Mazel tov’s were resounding in room after room as newborns arrived to the joy of their families. But one room was quiet. A new baby was born but something was wrong. It seemed to be a heart defect. The doctors conferred.   Top Israeli pediatric cardiologists were called in for consultations. The defect was a rare one and none of the specialists had any experience with it. A solution had to be found soon. Rabbi Shimon Rogoway, Director of Ezer Mizion’s Medical Referral Department, was brought into the picture. “Yes, I do know of a doctor who has experience in this type of defect but he’s in Boston. Continue reading Of Saving Lives and Beeping Phones

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Of Meds to China and Preemies Going Home

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Meir Quinn, Director of LInked to Life

People care about each other. It’s part of being human. We’d love to help out when another person is need but so many times we are not aware of the need. Perhaps he needs a ride from here to there and I am going from the same ‘here’ to the same ‘there’ but I never find out about his need until it’s too late. That’s what Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life is all about – a What’s App group of thousands, both in Israel and around the world, who are anxious to help when another is in need. With extensive networking, a vital item may be passed from hand to hand until it reaches its destination halfway around the globe. Life-saving medication, vital medical equipment, MRI’s, blood samples for asap testing – they’ve all made their way via the L2L Train. Here is one of the many thank you letters received. Continue reading Of Meds to China and Preemies Going Home

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One Minute? No Problem…

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Emergency call one minute before Shabbos

It was a minute before Shabbos (Sabbath) candle lighting. Not a time when one expects to receive a phone call. But the Packters are used to this. They’re tzaddikim. Very unusual people . Always ready to help. And that means always.  I began talking very fast as soon as they picked up. Continue reading One Minute? No Problem…

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A Volunteer Wonders What Happens Afterwards

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A response usually arrives within minutes by one of our eager volunteers

What happens afterwards? The thousands of members of Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, a WhatsApp group, routinely answer each beep of their phone to see if they are able to respond to the next emergency. They probably wonder what happens after they pick up vital medication or drive someone to a hospital.  Read on to see what happened after one Linked to Life volunteer responded to a request to drive  a group of volunteers to Rambam Hospital. Continue reading A Volunteer Wonders What Happens Afterwards

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When Life Explodes and Catapults You into the World of Hospitals

 

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The World of Hospitals

Life proceeds normally. Tuesday is similar to Monday and Wednesday follows in its wake. Then suddenly, without any warning, life explodes. A fifteen-year-old is crossing the street, something he has been doing since he was a youngster under the watchful eyes of his nervous mother. Now at fifteen, his mother no longer worried about his crossing. She knew he was careful and responsible. What she didn’t know about was the van that came hurtling down the street, against the light, hitting her son with full force causing his head to strike the asphalt until he lost consciousness. And life was no longer normal. The tiny hospital room becomes your world. Nothing else matters. Continue reading When Life Explodes and Catapults You into the World of Hospitals

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Their Role/ Our Role

Volunteer Driver

I’ll admit it. I had a negative thought there for a moment. I picked up a woman at one of the major hospitals and drove her miles to the city in which she lived. For an instant, I couldn’t help wondering why she called for a volunteer. Couldn’t she have gone by bus?  She looked fine, spoke in an upbeat manner, even joked a bit. I’m happy to help people out. After all, that’s why I joined Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life but from what I could see, I wondered if she really needed help. Continue reading Their Role/ Our Role

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Linked to Life: One Week

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Giving away adds, not subtracts

It’s interesting. When I was in second grade, my math teacher told me that if we take away, the total amount is less. When I grew up, I found it wasn’t true. If giving my time, my energy, my expertise made me have less in the end, then why would I and 9,000 of my fellow Linked to Life members race to click on any request that comes in and do our best to respond whenever possible? Second grade math teachers notwithstanding, giving away plusses so much more to our lives. Continue reading Linked to Life: One Week

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Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life “Takes the Cake”

pr whats app  Bas Mitzvah cakeA father of young children becomes ill. It goes without saying that the main focus is on his receiving proper medical care. But then there’s the little things. The sadness that pervades a once cheerful home… the frustrations when normal needs cannot be met…the guilt of the mother at not being supermom…children trying to be grownups and failing…kids desperate for childish pleasures as a security blanket enabling them to feel that their world hasn’t completely fallen apart…so many needs…

Daughter turns twelve and nothing happens. No family celebration.  Not even a mention.  The cloud encompassing the home is too dark, too heavy to allow a smile to enter. Until a request from a neighbor to Ezer Mizion resulted in a  super fantastic celebratory cake which brought in its wake a bit of sunshine to this despondent family.

L2L takes the cake 2And now her brother is turning nine. He begs for a cake. He begs and begs as only almost-nine-year-old boys can do.  His mother offers to make one for him even though she has no energy for even the most basic household tasks. But he wants, no needs (!), more. He wants a cake like his sister received when she turned twelve. Somewhat embarrassed but comfortable enough since she was calling “family”, Mommy contacted Ezer Mizion. “Is it…I mean could you…would it be at all possible…?”

As with the Bas Mitzvah cake, Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life (a What’s App Group) was contacted. Hundreds of screens lit up and in moments, a reply came in.  The super fantastic birthday goodies (see pictures for some of the yummies that accompanied the cake) were produced by Shaindy and her kids. Listen to her comments when it was done.

“The truth is that yesterday, on the fast day, in the heat wave, I wanted to help out but it just didn’t work out. I felt as if it was a lost opportunity.

L2L takes the cake“And then, this request popped up. You should know that I felt it was a real chessed – for me! I was fasting, and my girls, full of energy, wanted an active mother with them, as they have every day.

“Thanks to the cake posting, they and I had an especially enjoyable afternoon: One ran to the grocery, the other mixed the batter. When the first got back, she was busy passing over the ingredients and putting things away.

“We spent a few hours enjoying a positive learning experience, and when they asked whom the cake was for, I explained… and they were really, really touched, especially since my eldest is the same age as the birthday boy…

“So, baruch Hashem, I wanted to do my part and get an assignment – and I succeeded,  and had a wonderful family experience, to boot. Thank YOU for the privilege to be Linked to Life!”

Like to join? No matter what part of the globe you live in, SMS: 011 972 52 580 8936

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.

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