It Was a Hard Week

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Losing the battle

We speak of it as being a ‘battle with cancer’. Like all battles, it requires an army, each division with its special task, each soldier with a mission to which he devotes his heart and soul. Each ‘soldier’s very being becomes linked to those he helps. Help comes in many different forms.  Therapy, living quarters near the clinic, meals, rides. The list goes on and on. This is no 9-5 job where work-related info disappears from the employee or volunteer’s radar as he exits the office.

 

Shopping for his family at the supermarket, Avi, an Ezer Mizion Linked to Life volunteer,  spots a candy bar that little Yossi likes and, with an unmanly sob, he adds it to his cart. (Yossi’s Mommy used to buy him that candy every Sabbath but now Yossi’s Mommy is …) His phone rings and the shopping cart gets shoved into a corner. The store manager will understand. It’s happened before. His wife will surely understand. She had been tearfully praying when he left the house. It’s Moshe. He needs a ride to the hospital.  Now. They just called. His wife has only hours to live. He knew it was coming but when it does…oh,  it’s so hard. He will be needed for much more than the ride. He and his fellow Linked 2 Life members had supported the family in so many ways for months. “Hashem, give him strength,” he fervently prays as he rushes to his car.

 

Many weeks are filled with joy like when a child wins his battle with leukemia and L2L members drive the family and accumulated paraphernalia home from the hospital.  Soon the child will join his friends in their games, a boy like any other boy. A celebratory parade as they enter the home, each one carrying packages, almost dancing up the stairs. Or when we’re invited to a bris by a young father who had been afraid his baby would be named after him. He’s cured now. The nightmare is over.

 

Other weeks are not so. Like this past one. Ora died this week. She had been part of the lives of so many Linked to Life volunteers in Rechasim and Haifa. Her conversation was never about her pain, her anguish. It was only about how grateful she was to each person for everything done for her family.

“Mere words cannot express my thanks to you for all your help and support. Hashem, in His great compassion and immeasurable love sent me such special agents as yourselves. I bless you all from the bottom of my heart that Hashem should repay you in kind, grant you health, happiness, and success in all your endeavors and nachat from the children. May good and kindness pursue you your entire lives.”

These words were written to Ezer Mizion just a few months ago by Ora a”h.

We rallied. We tried to smooth the way for them, do the little extras to bring some sunshine into their numbered days together. The medical staff fought hard. We fought hard to keep up their spirits. And we lost. Ora is gone.  Ezer Mizion will be there for the family, with the practical, with the emotional as long as we’re needed. We’ll be their cushion, their pillar.

It was a hard week.  There was a family at Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp whose mother spent the time in bed on pain killers, under the supervision of medical staff, coming out for meals and some low-key activities. How gratifying to have been the catalyst for fortifying the family as they shared an enjoyable time together… their last. A day before camp ended, the mother was hospitalized. The children stayed on to finish camp. Ezer Mizion was with the children when they were told the bitter news of their mother’s demise. The younger ones hugged each other in a bundle of grief and said: “Ezer Mizion will help Abba and us. They never leave us to be alone!”

 

It was a hard week. A single mother of young children. Another young mother. And a sixteen year old boy with a brain tumor. Four young mothers and one young boy in one week.

 

Hashem, please give all of us at Ezer Mizion strength to be their strength. And Hashem, please hold them tight in Your embrace. Hug them. Comfort them. And wipe away all their tears.

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Lost??!!!

AirplaneThe logistics were endless. But the trip was important to him. Not that many years ago, before he became a victim of Parkinson’s disease, a trip would have involved not much more than packing a carry on the night before. He didn’t need much. Now things were different. Some members of his family didn’t want him to go. They were afraid. What if something went wrong? Arrangements were made for every detail. They planned and re-planned. He wanted so much to go and so his family rallied and tried to smooth out all the bumps.

 

“Goodbye. Have a safe trip! Goodbye! Goodbye!” They all gathered at the airport to see him off. They weren’t too worried. They had covered everything. “He’ll be fine,” they told themselves.

 

suitcaseThe trip was uneventful. It wasn’t until they disembarked that the bump came. A big one. He checked the monitor and made his way to the appropriate carousel. It was the first time he hadn’t used a carry on. The Parkinson’s made that too difficult.  “It’s the green suitcase with the black stripe,” he told the person helping him. Suitcases flew out. All colors. All sizes. But not his. He made his way to the agent and handed over his baggage papers. He waited while the agent checked his database, made some calls, checked again. “I’m sorry, sir. It’s lost. Please fill out these forms and you will be reimbursed.” He just stood there stunned. Lost? The shirts could be replaced. But his medication! His medication he must have! He only has enough for about half a day. All those pills. So many kinds. How could he ever replace them in a different country?!

 

Suddenly he felt old. Too old to have made the trip. His family had been right. He never should have gone. He sat down on the nearest chair. Helpless. The ringing of his phone broke into his melancholy thoughts. “Hi. How was the trip? Everything ok?” Nothing was ok. “Wait, Abba. We’ll work things out. You’ll see. Everything will be fine.”

 

Airport_Seating_SolutionsHe didn’t see how that could be but, having no emotional energy to even stand up, he remained there on the bench.

 

Meanwhile, his son got to work. One family member was sent to the pharmacy to procure a whole new set of medication, complete with all legal paperwork. Another was given the job to find someone who could take it from Israel to the US. Calls were made and many people suggested calling Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life Network.

 

The following post went up on Linked to Life at 8:32:

Urgent request! An Israeli with Parkinson’s disease flew to NY and lost his suitcase with all his medications! Family desperately looking for someone to bring new meds from Israel to NY.

At 8:35, just three minutes (!!) later: Delivery to New York has been arranged! A giant thank you to all our partners!

 

Still despondent, still sitting on his bench, he answered the ring on his phone. “What??? But how??? You say tomorrow morning???? Really???” With a spring in his step, he rose from the bench feeling ten years younger. It was going to be a great trip!

Like to join Linked to Life? SMS: 011 972 52 580 8936

 

 

 

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Coordinating the Impossible

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His firstborn’s Bar Mitzvah: will he be there?

His firstborn’s Bar Mitzvah. What every father dreams of as he watches his child mature. Every detail is pre-planned, pre-colored, pre-lived. All in capital letters. Ordering the tefillin (phylacteries). Choosing the design for the tefillin bag. The speech. The Torah Reading. The reception. Continue reading Coordinating the Impossible

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The View from Both Ends of Giving

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It feels good to give!

It feels good to give. Seeing the joy on another person’s face because of something that you did is an experience that cannot be defined. I know about that. I joined Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life awhile back. L2L is a  WhatsApp group that can be called for rides, deliveries of vital supplies and a zillion other requests by people who are dealing with serious illness. Continue reading The View from Both Ends of Giving

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Together? Nothing Is Impossible!

Alone it was impossible but together…together nothing is impossible.

Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, a WhatsApp group with many branches and hundreds in each branch, has proven this time and time again. One person needs. Another has an idea. A third has the means to make some headway and a fourth can complete it. Like the tickets story.  Continue reading Together? Nothing Is Impossible!

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The Negev Comes to Life

israel mapThe Bet Moriah Community Collaborates with Ezer Mizion- Negev on Behalf of Patients in the South

In light of the increase in the number of patients in Beersheba and the environs and a sharp rise in their needs, representatives of Ezer Mizion-Southern Region approached the Bet Moriah community and suggested a collaboration between Ezer Mizion and community volunteers. Continue reading The Negev Comes to Life

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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

pr L2L Meir Quinn
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

pr L2L Meir Quinn
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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