What A Ride Means when Illness Strikes

There are some things that you hear a lot about, but do not really grasp until you encounter them in real life. Only then do you suddenly truly understand all that you heard or saw on

the subject, and realize that – until now – you really had no idea what it was all about. That’s what happened to me recently when, for various medical reasons, I had to travel from my home to the hospital, back and forth, repeatedly. When I attempted to use public transportation, I learned that I would have to take three different buses in order to reach my destination. My health situation could not tolerate all that time on buses. Taxis were way out of my budget. I was at a loss of what to do. Then suddenly, the “good angels” I had heard so much about appeared out of nowhere and opened my eyes.

A friend referred me to Ezer Mizion’s Transport Division. It was there that I discovered an entire world of busy activity, humming quietly underground – or more accurately – above the ground, on the asphalt roads. I revealed an entire network of volunteers, regulars and occasional, at set hours and odd timers, with big vehicles and little ones. Among them were very busy, rushed people, who are anything but bored. Nevertheless, they were all there on call, like soldiers at a drill, quick to respond to every request from Ezer Mizion’s coordinator to come help another Jew.

I don’t have to describe the distress of patients and their families, some of whom unfortunately suffer for long periods of poor health. Much of that time, they spend on the roads, between home and the hospital. The other family members, and especially young children, get caught in the middle, desperate for a bit more attention and less isolation and distance from their harried parents.

The endless travel time turns from an inconvenience into a nightmare, as the lengthy trips steal away big chunks of time from the children, and the long hours spent outside the home come at the youngsters’ expense.

You cannot possibly understand the tremendous kindness in the mitzvah of facilitating speedy, comfortable transport of patients and their escorts, until you go through it yourself. We hope that no one should have to go through the experience and that everyone’s loved ones will stay well and healthy, and that by just hearing about it, people will come to a true understanding of how significant volunteer driving really is!

Ezer Mizion’s volunteer transport network is based on the caring and cooperation of hundreds of drivers who devote time and patience, driving their own cars and paying for the gas, to pick up patients and their companions and get them to their destination.

At this opportunity, I suggest that drivers devote some thought to this important topic. Whoever feels he can find the time to help out in this important chesed should speak to one of the organizations he is familiar with and offer his assistance to drive patients and their family members. In this way, more Jews can be helped to get through their difficult times with relative ease and comfort and to gain valuable time for the benefit of the patients and their children.

May all Jewish patients experience full recovery and render all these chesed avenues unnecessary!

Tzvi Hirsh Fisher

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