Cancer is a hard mountain to climb. Both for the victim and for his family. At times, the uphill trek is made even more difficult by the heavy baggage carried. Unnecessarily. Lior Lixenberg is a fourth grader in Noam Hame’iri School in Lod who carries with her a hefty load. Her five-year-old brother, Maoz, has been battling cancer for two years. Lior understands that there will be times when her parents will be too busy with Maoz to help her with her homework. That can’t be helped. A casual family vacation is often not feasible due to his condition. She understands that also. But what she does not understand is why some friends seem too scared to come to her house to play or why everybody moves away from her and rushes to join another group when she mentions that her brother was hospitalized.
Hadas, mother of Maoz and Lior, believes that it is important to educate children to understand cancer. The more understanding, the more comfort they have with the subject and the less discomfort children like Lior will have in discussing her home life with her classmates.
The school has joined with Hadas on this project. The class prayed for the recovery of Lior’s brother and had many discussions on the subject of cancer. This week, the school is hosting a unique Chessed Fundraising Fair and voted to have its proceeds benefit Ezer Mizion’s summer camp for cancer patients and their families. In the goal of contributing as much as possible to the project, there will be many booths representing companies that rallied to help produce the fair and contribute to the fundraising. The choice of Ezer Mizion was made based on the many and varied ways that the organization has helped the Lixenbergs and families like them throughout their battle. “Ezer Mizion gave us a lovely suite to live in, close to the treatment center, so we would not have to travel each day. They were there for us at the hospital with meals and transportation and, most important of all, a really caring attitude. There were retreats and fun days, birthday parties and craft activities, psychological therapy and a list that goes on and on,” explains Hadas.
In a TV interview, Hadas stated: “Our dream, as a family, is that there will be more schools where the understanding of cancer will have penetrated their corridors. We dream of the time when schools will take pause and transform this difficult, frightening subject into an educational opportunity and, by means of familiarity, turn the topic of cancer from a horrifying unmentionable to an opportunity to help.”
In her opinion, “There are many students coming to school who are coping with a sick sibling or parent and they don’t always feel comfortable sharing their pain. Talking with others about the illness is something that generates natural healing, both on the personal level and the family level.”
“An initiative like this can become a tradition in other schools and youth groups, which can include the healthy child and his sick sibling and launch a project that breathes Chessed,” Hadas added.