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.
Thus began unending, rigorous therapy. Painful. Frustrating. But she persevered. It was hard to let go of her teenage dreams. The future would not be as she had envisioned it. But she would create a new future. She would forego her travels to Italy and go to Holland instead. And Holland would be lovely, she promised herself.
And so her upbeat attitude became the gas that propelled her forward. Thoughts of what could have been were a dead end road, one she didn’t allow herself to travel. The road she did travel on led to many branches. She chose the Highway of Opportunity.
Pascale has no legs but that doesn’t mean she can’t ‘walk’. She travels the globe in her own way, using a top-of-the-line creative device , cheerfully waving as she passes the rest of the world by. Making excellent use of the abilities that she does have, Pascale has joined the Paralympics wearing a shirt that conveys her goals: We Play to Win.
The Paralympics was originally founded to provide a venue for the injured of WWll to participate in sports. It has since expanded to enable so many whose motor function was impaired at birth or because of a trauma later in life. It enables the paraplegic to excel in spite of his disability and fosters a sense of achievement to replace the despair that might otherwise color his life.
Pascale has chosen to compete in the Canoeing Division of the Paralympics and, with her spirit, promises to go far indeed. Her presentation at Ezer Mizion electrified the audience because of both its content and her powerful optimism in the face of adversity. It enabled many to turn the corner and join her as she travels the High Road.
Ezer Mizion salutes you, Pascale, and wishes you much success as you show the world: We Play to Win!
We also express appreciation to PJ Weil who sponsored Pascale’s appearance and the lovely evening that Ezer Mizion hosted around her appearance.
To enable more to benefit from Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division, please give generously.