Cancer is hard. A child whose worst complaint should be ‘too much homework’ is suddenly confronted with what no child should ever know. He finds himself in strange surroundings with his body doing strange things. He hears whispered fragments of his parents’ conversations. He witnesses children who shared the chemo experience with him suddenly disappearing and no one wants to tell him where they went. He’s scared. Confused. Anxious about the future. Will he have a future? He tries to block such thoughts but late at night, in the dark, they come creeping out of their hiding places.
And his siblings do not have it much better. A bedtime talk with Mommy when the hidden questions can safely be asked is a thing of the past. Mommy is always at the hospital or talking nervously to doctors on the phone. Suppers arrive from strangers. No one is home to help with homework. And worst of all is the terror – that dark shadow that permeates every corner of their home.
And the parents? They’re consumed with worry and fear. They’re torn between the sick child and the other kids. Their personal needs do not even enter their radar screen. Routine? There hasn’t been any in months. They’re adults but like they small children, they long for someone to take their hand. Someone to give their children what they are not capable of giving. Someone to take charge of what used to be a smoothly-running home. Even someone to provide their kids with extras… to bring back that smile that has been missing from their faces for months.
One by one, Ezer Mizion adds to its roster of services for families dealing with cancer. There’s hot meals for whoever is staying at the hospital with the patient. Rides to and from the hospital both for the patient and family members. Someone is assigned to do homework with the kids every night. Someone takes care of laundry. Cleaning help is brought in. Lovely apartments are provided near the hospital to avoid traveling thrice weekly for chemo. The sick child and his siblings join therapeutic activities at Ezer Mizion Guest Home for Families with Cancer. Sand therapy… music therapy… animal therapy… and yes, those special times – the smile times – come frequently also. A birthday party, a holiday event, a jeeping trip and the exhilarating days of a dream come true. Those are the days that energize the spirit, enabling it to strengthen the body in its battle for life.
A group of children needed a pick-me-up. They didn’t dare to ask but a ‘little birdie’ made it known to Ezer Mizion that an airplane tour of Israel would be the ultimate in fun for them. Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, a WhatsApp group, was contacted. One by one, the challenges were met by the Linked to Life network and their ‘heavenly’ day took place.
Over and over again, Ezer Mizion receives letters using the same phrase: We never could have made it through that terrible time without you! And who is Ezer Mizion? Ezer Mizion is you and me! All the professionals, the 25,000 volunteers and those caring people around the globe that contribute so generously.