In Hadassah’s outpatient clinic, I sit near my wife on a chair,
Along with many patients who’ve come from far and near.
Each one is hooked up to IV, getting chemo to cure his disease
Perhaps the powerful drugs will alleviate and ease.
As I sit there, my stomach rumbling, I wonder - what will be???
As an escort, I get no hospital meal, and I’m ravenously hungry…
Just then, in walk some women, their bags bulging and cheery
With food in all shapes and size – pareve, meat, and dairy.
For those who want something lighter, there’s a fresh and luscious roll.
I choose the tray of pareve food – it revives me, body and soul!
I thought of the chessed you do with love that’s sincere and real.
Thank you, Ezer Mizion, for the tasty and heartwarming meal!
Ezer Mizion serves so many different populations with a variety of needs and in so many different ways. With practical assistance, empowerment and emotional support this wonderful organization helps people who are facing health challenges. Their staf is highly professional and their volunteers are compassionate responsible people.
Ezer Mizion is one of the largest health support organizations is Israel. Any time I need any sort of medical assistance, they are the address for me.
On a fine, hot summer afternoon, during a routine blood test that I did in the middle of an ordinary work day, the sky fell on me. This time - it was me.
I was all alone.
True, family members and friends encircled me and tried to give me their support, but still - I felt alone. On the way home, I was shocked to discover that life was going on as if nothing had happened. Traffic jams, drivers honking, impatience - business as usual. The loneliness intensified.
Very soon, I found myself spending more time in the hospital than at home. There I first become familiar with the Ezer Mizion representative, who introduced herself and the fantastic organization she represents.
The opening words are somewhat hesitant. She did not want to bother me or to be a nuisance. But at the same time, she persisted, with determination and perseverance, time after time, encounter after encounter - until I understood that she was here to stay. She was there for me, appearing like a guardian angel at my low moments and high points, in tears and in laughter, like an unshakeable anchor.
With time, I also become aware of all the programs Ezer Mizion has to offer: Activities, holiday events, trips, getaways and of course, the piéce de resistance -summer camp for the whole family.
I want to tell you that throughout this summer camp experience, I cried a lot. They were not tears of sadness or of fear or worry. This time, the choked up throat and teary eyes were the result of deep emotion.
I was profoundly moved by the fact that in such a cold, cynical world, there are warm people who care, people who are willing to give of their time and energy, people who are willing to do for others.
Ezer Mizion's summer camp has brought me and my family tremendous pleasure. It was a desperately needed "breather," filled to the gills with wonderful, exciting experiences. But most of all, it was a week that taught me about genuine caring.
For that - I thank you. Thank you for thinking of us. Thank you for the smiles, for the marvelous patience of the staff and volunteers. Thank you for the unbelievable organization, logistics, coordinating to perfection every minute detail, for all the surprises, for the great joy. Thank you for the encouragement . And most important - thank you for the love.
With all my heart,
I want to thank you for the wonderful chag we enjoyed thanks to you, for the absolutely perfect Seder night meal, for the yomtov and chol ha'mo'ed meals, for the warm heart that was evident in every box we opened...
For five months, we have been in and out of hospitals with a child who became ill with the dreaded disease, cancer. For five months, our home has maintained a minimal semblance of sanity, only thanks to Ezer Mizion's remarkable volunteers. Five months during which your staff has served as a listening ear, a guiding hand, and a boundless heart that gives and gives and gives some more...
"Making Pesach" is not a simple task in any home, and it gets much more complex in a home that has not been functioning normally for five months running and is still doing shifts at the oncology ward 24 hours a day.
We didn't know where to start. We never dreamed that there would be a Seder here this year. When we received your confirmation that food was "on you," a huge stone rolled off our hearts. We knew that whatever is in your hands will be done the best way possible.
And that is exactly what happened! The abundance, the taste, the variety, the freshness (in the middle of the week, we received another fresh delivery of food). Above all, we felt the dedication invested into every single item so lovingly and esthetically packaged.
So many volunteers are partners in this mitzvah that we thought the best way to reach them all is through thanking you publicly in this newspaper public opinion section. We want to personally thank all the volunteers who cooked in their homes, all the volunteers at the central kitchen, and all the drivers who brought the cartons laden with all the delicacies to our doorstep.
May you be blessed with an abundance of health and nachat, and may Hashem fulfill all your heart's desires for the good, Amen!
heard this recount of a typical day of an Ezer Mizion employee: A patient lies helpless in a hospital bed. His family surrounds him. The room is filled with tension. He has one chance to live. A bone marrow transplant can save his life but a genetically matching donor is needed.
Ezer Mizion's Bone Marrow Registry searches. They search further...further... Success!
Initial testing done at time of registration indicates a very good match. The contact number is dialed. It rings but the potential donor is not at home.
When will he arrive? Not for several weeks. He is at camp. Somewhere out in California. Miles away from civilization. Miles away from a phlebotomist who can draw the blood for further testing. Miles away from life for the patient whose condition may deteriorate over the interim.
Ezer Mizion's NY office is contacted. Mapquest joins Ezer Mizion's NY office in its search for the nearest city. No accommodating lab in that city on Ezer Mizion's list. Google and Whitepages.com rush to assist, providing a list of doctors, clinics, phlebotomists, labs--- any entity which may be able to draw the blood and ship it to one of Ezer Mizion's labs to be further tested asap.
Calls are made. Five o'clock comes and goes. Out to lunch...on vacation...please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible...sorry, we do not draw blood...sorry, we cannot be of service...
Keep dialing...next one on the list...yes, we'll be happy to help. Relieved sigh. Paperwork emailed. Close office. Home. Another life saved.
Organization created a fantastic event with a success story as its highlight. A sixteen year old boy appeared center stage and met the bone marrow donor who saved his life for the first time. The cliche of 'there wasn't a dry eye...' was certainly true at this event!
Role Reversal from Donor to Recipient
The lab told me: “Maybe you should see a doctor…”
My doctors told me that they were looking for a match. I was praying: “G-d, make them find a donor!”
Yael: “If I am allowed to know who the donor is, that means everything is all right.”
My donor is my personal miracle…
“You probably don’t remember Omri, the boy with cancer that they once collected blood samples for at Ezer Mizion for their bone marrow registry… I remember him well.
I was 32 years old then. I worked as a producer. That day at work, they came around to collect samples for Omri. I registered with Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry as a potential donor.
I was thrilled to hear that I was found to be a match for a patient and was doing the pre-donation blood tests. That’s when, in a simple blood test, the lab saw that something was wrong. They told me, ‘Instead of donating your stem cells, you’d better see a doctor.’
I went to a doctor, who sent me straight to the hospital where I stayed for three days until the results came: ‘Yael, you have leukemia!’ In one moment, I turned from a potential donor for a transplant candidate into the patient seeking a matching stem cell donor…
At first I underwent aggressive chemotherapy treatments. When the treatments did not help and the doctors realized that my body was unable to produce healthy cells, they started searching all the registries for a compatible donor. One donor, with a certain degree of compatibility, was located in Germany.
Then, my doctors suddenly informed me that a donor was found here in Israel in Ezer Mizion’s Registry’ — the world’s largest Jewish registry. The donor had just joined the registry and was my match! He was slated just then to travel abroad for a long period of time. Because of the transplant, he put off his flight. This person also signed up with Ezer Mizion’s Registry during the donor recruitment drive to save Omri. In the end, he was the one who saved me…
Three months elapsed from the time I took the simple blood test that revealed my leukemia until the transplant — three months that seemed to me an eternity! I was shattered and drained by the chemotherapy and I was on edge waiting for the matching stem cell donor to turn up…
I remember how my husband, my mother and I sat in the hospital room and laughed at the little bag of blood. There we were, waiting for a dramatic, life-saving “something”, and all of a sudden, the doctor walks in with this little bag of blood and says: ‘Here’s the donation’… At that moment, you can’t even absorb and understand what is really happening, certainly not to appreciate the meaning of that little bag.
We, my family and I, wanted very much to meet the donor and thank him, but it took time. The donor and recipient can’t meet or know anything about one another for at least a year after the transplant. When the medical team sees that the transplant took and that there is no rejection, the contact the registry to ask the donor for his approval, and only then enable him to meet with the recipient.
About a year after the transplant, the brightest moment in my life arrived, the most powerful moment, as far as I am concerned — my encounter with the donor. It was a closure in a double sense: Donor and recipient, and recipient who came to give a donation and ended up receiving it.
The meeting took place in a conference room at Ezer Mizion’s cancer patient guest home. I think there were a lot of people in the room. I myself was floating… I sat with my husband, my mother, nurses from the ward at Ichilov Hospital where I was treated, representatives from Ezer Mizion, and the donor. Words cannot describe this moment! It was too moving and powerful to convert into words.
I sat there and did not know what to think first. The fact that they allowed me to meet the donor proved that the transplant was well received. It worked! It was then that I realized that I am a kind of a survivor. ‘If I am allowed to meet my donor, it means that everything is all right…’ That was one of the thoughts that went through my mind then. ‘I’m healthy! I’ve recovered. I am really healthy!’
G-d, thank you! Thank you, thank you, and again — thank you! Thank you that the transplant worked, thank you for restoring me to life…! Thank you for sending me your agents to save me!
Thank you for Ezer Mizion that set up and run this amazing registry. Thank you for planting compassion in the heart of my donor to wanted to join the registry. Thank you for all the caring people who make this possible by financially supporting this great work.
About two and a half years ago, I had a baby boy. As soon as he was born, I knew what we would call him. We named him Uri – the name of the donor. He was born on Chanukah, so it was a fitting name, too, from the word “Or” — light, but the truth is that we had decided to call him that without any connection to the time of year.
Every summer, I celebrate anew. I have two birthdays a year, and the more important of the two, at least to me, is my summer “birthday” — the date of the transplant. On that day, I was born again. I exchanged my entire immune system. With every year that goes by, I feel more and more that his story is behind me, and I am overjoyed anew.
That’s it. That’s my story. I don’t know if I did a good enough job conveying my feelings. And I don’t know what it will do to you in your heart when you read it. For me — it changed my life.
If my moment can give you a new appreciation of the so-called “routine” moments in your everyday life, and move you to thank the Creator again and again for moments that you used to take for granted, then that one moment of thanks on your part for the blessed routine of your life makes the whole story of ‘my moment’ worthwhile.
Ezer mizion is the greatest place!!
i was a volunteer in the summer day camp for Children with special needs, and it was amazing to see how much they help everyone and any one that needs!!
My elderly parents went to live in Israel in 1998. They were looking forward to their retirement there, but sadly only two and a half years later my father had to have a hip replacement. This did not go well and he had a very deep infection in his thigh bone that refused to heal. My mother and sister did not know where to find advice and help, especially as neither knew much medical Hebrew. Ezer Mizion was where they were referred to. They gave them medical advice so that they understood what was going on and could find treatments that were available. They gave referrals to doctors to find the best place for surgery. The Ezer Mizion ambulance transport facility to and from the nursing home and hospital meant that those issues were taken care of and this helped my mother greatly. When my mother, sister or other carer was staying in the hospital, Ezer Mizion ensured that there was always food in the hospital for them too so that no one was hungry. In short, I fell that the support given by Ezer Mizion to my family during this difficult period was exemplary and demonstrates that they deserve every support and encouragement to continue in their vital work.
I have a good imagination. Sometimes I read about something and I can actually imagine that I am there, like the time I read about some kids spending the day at the beach. I could almost feel the waves and smell the air even though I haven’t been to the beach since I was a tiny child. I don’t get to go to too many places besides school. It’s really hard for my parents to take me. You see, I have cerebral palsy. I can’t walk. Books are great. They ‘take’ me all over but even my imagination---and I have a really good one---can’t come anywhere near to the real thing. And, guess what? I got the real thing! It was all thanks to Ezer Mizion. They have a club for kids with CP. It’s called Matan Club and every year they take us on a special trip. This year we went to Shavei Zion, a place on the seaside. Usually when I am on a bus, I’m crowded and can’t see out the window. Ezer Mizion got us a wheelchair bus and each one of us had plenty of space and could enjoy the ride and watch the scenery. Boy, was I excited when I finally saw the water. I would have loved to jump out of the bus and run down the sand to slide into the water but…well, I can’t do any of those things. I can’t jump or run or slide. But I’m very lucky. I have a great attendant. He brought me all the way down to the water and then lowered me out of my wheelchair onto the sand. I can’t even begin to describe what that felt like. Then we were brought to the hotel which was set up perfectly for the handicapped. We got ready for Shabbat. The prayers were full of song; it was very beautiful and moving. There was a lot of singing at the Shabbat meals, too, as well as divrei Torah with learning groups after the morning meal. For me, Mincha was the best. I got called up to the Torah. Can you imagine what that felt like? Receiving an aliyah! Being like everyone else, like a regular Jew! Even the ‘walk’ around the beach after Mincha didn’t rival that aliyah.
Sunday was fantastic. We received hats and tee-shirts as a gift and off we went on an ATV. I had never been on one of those before. On Monday, we went to an Air Force Camp in Ramat David. They took us to the runway. We were right there next to the roar of those fighter planes as they took off. That was some experience.
I want to thank every single person at Ezer Mizion who helped to put together this terrific trip, especially my attendant who made it especially wonderful for me.
Until next time - see you!
The day I made my way through the frantic atmosphere of the recruitment base, waiting for my new green IDF uniform, I never thought that with a little pinch of a needle at the Ezer Mizion bone marrow sample testing booth, I could save a human life. I had almost forgotten all about the sample I gave. When they called to tell me that I was a match, I cried with joy and I cry every time I relive the dramatic moment
Ezer Mizion has been there for me and my family since our arrival in Israel 12 years ago. Wether we needed medical equipment loans, medical advice, a hot meal after 12 hours in the emergency room, advice for early intervention, daily home visits to measure blood pressure for me elderly mother visiting from the States, hydrotherapy as tool to treat ADHD, there is no limit to their caring and concern. If there's a way to help, Ezer Mizon does it.
Our grandson was born at the Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikvah, to our great joy and to the joy of the entire family.
Three days after his birth, our daughter-in-law's condition deteriorated rapidly and she was rushed to Intensive Care for emergency treatment. Tragically, despite the medical treatment, our fervent prayers, and our hopes, she returned her pure soul to her Creator at the age of 23, leaving behind a young husband, two young orphans - age two years and a baby of less than three weeks - and a shocked and grieving family.
As soon as our daughter-in-law entered Intensive Care, we contacted Ezer Mizion for guidance and assistance in choosing the right doctors, to ensure that she received the best medical attention possible.
A representative of Ezer Mizion got in touch with us and for two entire weeks, day and night, he would call us, get an update, and speak to the medical staff. He was there for us constantly during this entire difficult period.
Furthermore, as a result of the baby's low weight, the brith milah had to be postponed. It was only on the third day of Chol Hamoed Sukkot, at 12:20 PM, that we were informed that it would be possible to hold the brith milah that day (and it was not advisable to put it off to the next day because his mother was in critical condition ...). The mohel set the time for 2:00 PM.
Within an hour and 40 minutes we had to organize an entire brith - including a festive meal, clothing for the baby, etc. When we called Ezer Mizion to consult with them, we were advised that they would arrange everything. Just one hour later, a representative arrived with generous portions of rolls, salads, cold cuts, drinks, etc. as well as dishes, cutlery, etc.
At the end of the event, I asked him how much I owed him for this feast. He was insulted by the question, and responded that there was no charge - not a single penny - everything was purely as a good deed.
Dear Rabbi Chollak!
It is for good reason that the great Torah sage Rav Chaim Kanievsky said, "Ezer Mizion are my emissaries. . . ."
Continue to glorify the name of Heaven through your important and holy enterprise and may the Holy One Blessed be He always be of aid to you.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks for the help I received form Ezer Mizion recently.
The volunteers who took me five times a week to and from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital for several weeks made these treatments so much easier for me. Meeting these dedicated people was inspiring. It is a great chesed you perform and in the future I would like to be among your volunteers.
Special thanks to the people who help make the arrangements everyday!
My name is Yaffa. I am an intelligent woman with a lucrative profession, and
I am employed in a prestigious position. I like esthetics, cooking, art,
music, and most of all - I love children.
A few days after our sixth child, Efrat, was born, I was not the same
person. It was like somebody else had come to inhabit my skin. I was always
upbeat and capable of handling all the household crises that crop up daily.
Suddenly, I felt frightened, unsteady. Fragile. Like a crumpled leaf to be
crushed into dust at the gentlest wind. I cried without stop. I was very
confused, angry at everyone around me. I was living in a nightmare and my
family had joined me in my horrific dream.
When Efrat was three weeks old, my husband knew that we urgently needed
counseling. The house was on wheels, the atmosphere was poisoned with the
nasty remarks that were not mine but were coming out of my mouth.
I wasn't communicating normally. I wasn't caring for the baby and certainly
not for the older children. It was my body, but the real me was a million
miles away. My husband understood that something very serious was happening,
something that required the help of a professional. But who??? The very fact
that we needed help precluded our asking for help. How could we ask friends
or family? It had to be kept quiet. Nobody should know, no one should
talk...We couldn't let it continue. Yet we couldn't do anything to stop it.
For ten days, my husband went around trying to pretend that all is well,
deluding himself that any minute, it would pass, covering things up from the
children, and even more so, from himself. One day, he passed by the big Ezer
Mizion building. He didn't let himself think. He closed his mind to the
ever-present worry that people will find out. In seconds, he found himself
standing in front of the receptionist's desk and blurted out, "Who can I
talk to on the subject of post-partum depression?"
From that moment on we were no longer alone. We had someone to consult,
someone with whom we could share our feelings and our pain. And Ezer Mizion
was the ultimate in discretion. Hot meals began to arrive at our home and
devoted volunteers took the children to the park in the afternoon. They
immediately sent me a wonderful companion, who gave me support and helped me
get organized with the simplest, most basic things.
I underwent a rehabilitation process at Ezer Mizion, in a framework adapted
just for me. I made beautiful progress, and Ezer Mizion celebrated every
step forward along with us.
A few months later, I was already able to return to my job and care for my
home and family. Ezer Mizion continued to help me in every imaginable way
for a long time, until I was functioning at full capacity. Gradually, Ezer
Mizion receded from our lives, as normal life concurrently reentered. And
no, no one ever discovered our secret.
Review from Guidestar
My name is Mika and I’m an eighth grader. One day I went for a very special haircut. I watched as my hair that I had been so proud of was put into a container marked Ezer Mizion to be used to make wigs for cancer patients. With all their other problems, cancer patients also have to be embarrassed because they have no hair. It’s a very special feeling to give a part of yourself to help someone else.
Dear bone marrow donor,
Since we cannot know who you are and tell you personally all that we would like to say, we shall do the best we can and express our feelings through this anonymous letter.
Our entire family and all our friends and the many people who are concerned for the health of our loved one send the greatest thank you that it is possible to transmit. Giving of your time, effort and pain as you did, for someone you don't even know, and at no profit for yourself - is not something that is self-understood.
No matter what the results of the transplant will prove to be, you can mark off to your credit the priceless merit of saving a life, as we are told: "When a person saves one soul, it is as if he saved an entire world."
Your donation has struck an emotional chord in each of us and has planted hope in our hearts - both for our loved one's health and for life in general - the refreshing knowledge that people like you exist who are willing to do anything for another person, a stranger, just in order to save life.
If only we had enough words to thank you for your selfless donation.
We wish you and your family much health and success in all that you do.
With love -
From the appreciative family
The retreat for diabetics was unbelievable. You can't imagine how energizing it is to spend a whole Shabbat with peers you can talk to, to be yourself, to know that you're not the only one dealing with this challenge, day in and day out. These retreats are the real injections that keep us going the whole year around!
I graduated from college with honors, and ended up with a successful career as VP of sales for a marketing company.
I had started not feeling well in 2002, mostly gastro issues. The doctors assumed I had an infection – there were lots of tests, but no answers.
Then the answer came. And when it did, I wished it hadn’t. I’ll never forget the look in my parents’ eyes when they heard. It wasn’t a stubborn stomach virus. It was cancer.
How does a mother face the possibility of losing the child she gave birth to? My mother cried. My father stood there stoic, clenching his fists. He was the rock of our family but the rock was trembling.
In the summer of 2009, Dr. Rai explained that since no treatments were effective for me I would need a stem-cell transplant. This was the last stop. There was nothing else. I felt like my world was coming to an end. That was my only option. I needed a donor who matched my genetics. If there was one, the transplant would take place. If not, …My sister was tested but she was not a match. So Dr. Rai sent a search request to Ezer Mizion. At that point I knew my life depended on two things, finding a donor and time. My race for life began.
I was 42 when I had my stem cell transplant and I just celebrated my 45th birthday. Every day is a blessing. I thank my donor many times every day!
I’m excited for the future. I have a lot more life to live and because of Ezer Mizion and my donor I am ALIVE and ready!
I have been living in Israel for 3 years. I am still on all the 'Old Country' email lists and look on longingly about all the Golf Outings that are advertised at various times during the year.
Whenever I participated in the day's events, I always enjoyed the entire atmosphere camaraderie's, food, and of course the golf. If a trip stateside coincided with one of the various outings I would have attended, I would try to work my hectic schedule into the outing, but - more often than not - it was not possible.
Living in Beit Shemesh, having a day job and not being an ardent 'twice a week' golfer, my golf skills waned and my rounds became few and far between. Which has been a shame because the year I made Aliyah, the Caesarea Golf Course reopened its beautiful Pete Dye designed championship course. I was able to play every few months but not more.
Shortly after arriving to Israel, friends and family started turning to us for advice on where to go and what to do as they found themselves on the JFK-Ben Gurion express once again. They are always looking for the 'out of the way', 'off the grid', 'never did that before', thing in Israel. Invariably the suggestion was met with 'been there, done that'.
Until one year when my friend Simmie visited from West Hempstead. He was investigating different yeshivot his high school senior was interested in attending the following year. He also knew there were quite a few others that were traveling to Israel the same Thanksgiving weekend.
After an exhaustive yeshivah search he found himself with an afternoon free. Having done practically everything else in Israel, he wanted to play golf. A few phone calls later we had two foursomes and a tee time at the Caesarea course. We followed up the round at a restaurant in the Herzalia marina and one of the participants commented on what an absolutely great and different day this was.
This began the wheels turning in our heads. If; with a few quick phone calls, we can organize a great golf day, why not make this into an annual event and raise money for a worthwhile cause?
Playing golf, eating food, having fun and all done in the name of raising money - we right away came up with a worthy organization: Ezer Mizion.
Our relationship with Ezer Mizion began six years ago. Simmie introduced me to the organization and on one of our many trips we had packed some gift bags or brought some clothes and we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to tour their facility and deliver the goods to a welcoming recipient.
We discovered that Ezer Mizion has its hand in so many areas. It may be a family whose mother is struggling with cancer and unable to cope or a frail octogenarian desperate to maintain his independence or perhaps a special child frustrated by failure.
The prime division is its International Jewish Bone Marrow Registry. Our tour of the place was where we learned about the registry.
They had just initiated the testing of every IDF recruit and their numbers of specimens in the bank was growing along with their costs. They estimated if the number of people in the bank was 1,000,000 they would have a 97-99% certainty of being able to provide a match for any Jewish person that would, G-d forbid, need it. Clearly this was a suitable match for our fundraising efforts. Saving one soul is akin to saving the world. Currently they are the fourth largest registry in the world behind the USA, Germany and Brazil. They are the largest Jewish registry.
Irv Hackel played an important role in helping us arrange for a speaker to come and give us words of inspiration while raising money for Ezer Mizion. Other events and circumstances led us to the logical next step, raising money for Ezer Mizion via a golf outing in Israel. As far as I know there are no other ones like it. With Simmie spearheading the US efforts and my being in Israel and arranging the logistics, we inaugurated the Annual Turkey Shoot Golf Outing in Support of Ezer Mizion's Bone Marrow Registry.
This was not as simple as making a few phone calls, but everyone we spoke with was enthusiastic and eager to help. The golf course was happy to help us with the planning. Holy Bagel gladly jumped aboard as a sponsor and provided breakfast and lunch. After all said and done we had 24 golfers, had an incredible amount of fun and raised a lot of money.
Afterwards there was a unanimous agreement to make this an annual event. Many people who heard about it after the fact pledged to play the following year.
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!
After years of a protracted struggle against lymphoma, my remaining option was the possibility of a transplant from an unrelated donor. Thanks to you and to the remarkable enterprise established by Ezer Mizion, a compatible donor was located for me. During the course of the treatments I underwent, two additional donations were required. You mobilized the effort to save my life and did whatever was necessary to cure me. You did everything willingly and graciously, but also with determination stemming from the mission you voluntarily undertook.
Words do not suffice to express what I feel these days, now that I am liberated from a prolonged period of hospitalization. During this time there were more than a few difficult moments, and the bone marrow donations you organized for me with a willing heart, within a very short time framework, enabled me to recover.
I still have a long way to go, but I feel strengthened and hopeful about the success of the process. This is in large measure due to your exceptional generosity and kind-heartedness, and to all the good people who helped - and first and foremost, you.
It is wonderful to know that there are still good people like you, who volunteer day and night, for the purpose of literally saving lives. May such good deeds increase and may a cure be found for all those in need of one.
I volunteer - usually on a weekly basis - to sit by the bedside of a patient in one of Jerusalem's hospitals.
There are other volunteers from Ezer Mizion who drive me there and back.
While in the hospital, there is an Ezer Mizion volunteer giving out tasty meals (or snacks, depending on the time of day/night). I have seen how these gifts of food have really made a difference in the lives of the family of the patients.
Some people are sitting there day and night and can't leave to try to find a normal meal. Ezer Mizion comes along (with a smile too) and provides them nourishment to continue the vigil by their bedsides.
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To our new Ezer Mizion family,
That has no boundaries of time,
Nor boundaries of will,
Whose power of giving
Is beyond all imagination.
Our blessing is
That you be blessed with strength and much ability
To continue and sweeten the path
With the great insight and pleasantness
That we have had the merit to see in you.
I wanted to thank you for the Sweet Retreat that strengthened, enriched, pampered.
Thank you for all the activities, both for mothers and daughters, giving us all a chance to rest a bit from our day to day occupation and to see that, in essence, we are all the same. We all share the same challenges, with our children always around us and in our hearts, and dependent on our constant care.
We could see that you thought of everything, and that it was all meticulously planned.
May Hashem give you all your well deserved reward. Thank you, and best wishes for good health for all.
To my great sorrow, my acquaintance with Ezer Mizion in recent years stems from my wife's serious illness. In the recent past, she has undergone difficult At the time, she recovered. Unfortunately, during this past year, she had to resume treatments.
This is not the place to describe all the trials and tribulations we are going through but to share our gratitude for giving us a precious gift called "life."
Our everyday life in this world is filled with non-stop challenges – day after day and hour after hour of endless running, aggravations, fears, anxieties and doubts, without a moment's rest. From Ezer Mizion, we receive peace, tranquility, happiness and… life.
At these very moments, my wife is getting ready to go to a hotel in Nir Etzion. I heard her this morning getting up with a song on her lips and singing to the children as she got them up to go to school and kindergarten (and this after yesterday's treatment…) She was so excited that a trip was in the offing to grant her life.
We have not yet gotten over the Chanukah event that you organized for the children at the farm, which gave all of us a boost of joy and vitality. We still bask in the memories of past events that brought us joy and…life.
At moments of tension, of medical tests, of thoughts about things that we fear to say in words, we recall these exciting events, picture the smiles on the faces of our happy children – and thanks to you, we receive life.
These moments of "joy and life" are worth a fortune to us. If we could, we would keep those moments alive forever. If we could, we would stop the "film" and remain suspended in this state of joy and life without returning to our challenges, but…
At present, all we can do is, at the very least, to say – thank you for everything, and to express our deep appreciation for your tremendous life-giving enterprise.
Dear Tehilla, Avital and Orit,
There are sweet little kids, hardly noticed at all
And bigger kids that everyone always recalls.
These children are stars that twinkle so bright,
Illuminating the world each day with their light.
But if they are the stars, then you are the sun
Kindling the glow in each and every one.
Darkness and pain, from them you release -
Illuminating their path with softness and peace.
Like the sun in the sky, you shower your light
And make sure that for them, everything's just right.
You work with these souls the whole year, throughout
Their deep, hidden feelings, you gently draw out.
And then after a year, when they grow and they learn,
Comes the great summer camp for which all year they yearn.
Tehilla and Avital, the summer camp coordinate,
Planning and arranging a program that's great.
Orit organizes the line-ups - simply amazing,
A smile on her face, her mouth always praising.
Thank you all for the love that you lend,
And the faith and hope that in Naomi you extend.
Thanks for all you do to take such good care,
Keeping her happy and occupied the entire year.
Special thanks for everything!
Naomi's big sister,
I work as a pre-school teacher, in Pre 1A. I joined the "Active Nurturing Playground" project last year.
I feel that the Active Nurturing Playground (ANP) has opened new horizons for me in my work with children in the sensory-motor area. This is a very crucial area at the pre-school age, since, as is well known, physical movements are the first skills that develop in the young child.
The ANP project created an enabling environment in my pre-school class, one that enables all the children, not just those with challenges. All of the children have an opportunity to engage in sensory motor activity in a fun and enjoyable way that effectively enhances the learning process, social skills and behavior.
The ANP gave me the tools to more easily pinpoint the child with challenges and to help him as much as possible.
In addition, the project gave me marvelous tools and the ability to pass information on to the parents and to clearly define their child's difficulties. In this way, I am able to foster in them trust and acceptance. As a result, they are willing and able to act on the recommendations given to them.
The ANP kit contains varied and challenging equipment. The mentor, does wonderful work, conveying her subject in a comprehensive, clear and structured fashion.
Her cooperative efforts with us, the pre-school teachers, and with the children in the group, produce real results in the field. Here is a striking example of a case in point:
The mother was ill with cancer, and her hospitalizations were frequent. Each time the mother was hospitalized, the child was passed from one neighbor to the next, until a family was found that would take her on a regular basis each time the mother was not at home. In addition to this difficult family background, she also had personal challenges.
There was a gap of two years and three months between her and her classmates. She had difficulties in organization, language retrieval, and understanding instructions. At snack time, she would become very dirty and this automatically created social rejection as well.
Into this mess stepped the wonderful project of the ANP.
Before we became involved with the ANP, we worked a lot with the child in group and individual work. The miracle was that the girl's motivation to learn was very high. She was willing to give up on free play time in order to progress and learn. In addition, she received therapy once a week at the Child Development Clinic. Still and all, her progress was in tiny, baby steps.
The minute we started working with her in the ANP, it was as if the cork was pulled out and everything started to move. She needed this motor activity in a massive, basic and consistent dosage.
We came to a stage that the Child Development Clinic wanted to close her case. They said: "The child has closed gaps in an amazing way. What happened? A miracle?" No!
She simply had not had the opportunity until now to engage in so many varied activities. We divided the children of the class into groups of five, and included her every time. In this manner, she had many opportunities to upgrade her abilities with the teacher's guidance.
I feel that Ezer Mizion has succeeded in giving us a product that we can use. This is a project that suits us perfectly – its content, the lectures, the mentoring staff. In this way, a bond of trust is formed between us, them, the children and the parents – and the results are self-evident.
This entire project is not something that "was, and is finished." It is a new direction that has penetrated and will remain forever.
It's just wonderful – thank you! We will be very happy to keep up the fertile collaboration in other projects in the future.
I am a teenage girl. I participated in the Lev Same'ach summer camp, and I also spend time once a week with a special child. I have a tremendous love for Hashem's special children. When I went to the Tel Aviv performance of Ahava Rabbah, presented by a cast of special children, tears came to my eyes. The dozens of innocent faces looked to me like flowers blossoming before my eyes. I felt like stretching out my arms and embracing every one of them, "Angels! I want to touch your purity, your divine perfection!" I could hardly contain my feelings.
Just one day earlier, I was in the Newborn Ward of the hospital, and I saw a tiny, perfect baby, just born. It seemed so simple and self understood that the new parents would bring home a healthy baby, wrapped in a warm velvety blanket. I couldn't help thinking of other mothers, whose little "chicks" come in a different guise…
Yet, I felt that Hashem above turns to His angels and boasts: "Look at my precious children. See how they cope with challenges – and how they help others cope. Look at Ezer Mizion, and see the power of 'Ahava Rabbah' – vast love."
How fortunate we are that we have an organization like this, that giving hearts such as these reside among us.
Dear Children's Division of Ezer Mizion,
We want to express our feelings about the beautiful time we spent with you. I never thought that a speech therapy session could be such a positive experience. You would think that it would pose difficulties for a family – but for us it was simply a pleasure. Every day, the child asked – when are we going to Miriam?
The warmth, patience and tranquility that Miriam Tzarfati radiated to the child (and to me, when I accompanied him) was something special. Today, a half year after starting therapy, you can hardly recognize him as the same child. His speech has improved fantastically. His calmness and control have also shown marked improvement.
The entire staff of the Children's Division was just wonderful – smiling Shosha, gentle Re'ut, and Rachel from the game room, who came up with the wonderful idea of sending games home with us – in short, everybody!
May you be blessed in all your endeavors,
With our deepest appreciation,
The M. family and little David
Dear all the angels involved in this holy work!
As the mother of a counselor who participated in Ezer Mizion's summer camp in Petach Tikvah, I wanted to express to you my tremendous appreciation for allowing my daughter the privilege to be with you, give of herself, and discover her hidden strengths.
Words cannot capture the tremendous, elevating experience that she went through and is still drawing from until today – in addition to the fact that the camp opened her eyes to a different world, a world where every single person is of no less value than herself.
I feel that these days contributed a great deal to deepening her inner world and developing her character. She can hardly wait for the joint weekends for the children and counselors!
My blessings for your continued wonderful work~
To my dear teacher
Words cannot express my thanks for your wonderful therapy.
Every minute was an experience, every moment was filled with enjoyment.
For the marvelous attitude, the heaps of patience and understanding, and for helping me progress and learn happily –
May Hashem bless you and may you succeed in all your endeavors!
At the conclusion of the first half year of its operation, we want to thank Ezer Mizion for the marvelous afternoon program for special children in Elad. Words cannot describe the devotion, dedicated care and tremendous love which our children receive there every single day. We are constantly amazed by the creative projects, the nutritious meals, and the amazing work of the outstanding, warm staff, which invests all its energy in boundless giving!
We sing the praises of the one conducting this remarkable "symphony," Ms. Sarah Susan (Susie), an exceptional director who dedicates all her time and her entire soul for the benefit of these special children. Our heartfelt thanks also go to the devoted workers Estie Rozhin, Bosmat Chalfon, Leah Kaufman and Malkie Hoffman.
In these few months, our children have progressed unbelievably in speech, motor skills, life skills, and more … The calmness, smile, and beaming joy that illuminates their face when they get home at 6:00 (!!) in the evening is our greatest feedback that they are enjoying this afternoon program very, very much. And, of course, we are given the opportunity to rest and devote time to the children's siblings.
With Hashem's help, may we together merit seeing our special children's education and growth. May you be Divinely blessed, and may we all enjoy nachat from all of our offspring!
Wishing you boundless blessings from Above"
The Y., F., A. and T. families
I am in the midst of supporting my spouse in his battle with cancer. Every day, I have the opportunity to observe your special dedication, as you deliver the lovingly prepared delicacies to the patients and their accompanying family members. You do not bring only food, but also a cheerful spirit and a glowing smile - all quietly and modestly, in the spirit of the verse, "Love kindness and walk humbly." You bring with you much encouragement which is so important to help us get through these most difficult hours... May you be blessed, and may there be many like you in the Jewish people! With my deepest thanks
A letter sent to Rivka Friedman by Gali, a cancer patient who participated in the London trip, 40+, mother of three: London 2009 - Trip for Women with Cancer As I sit here, on a hard wooden bench in the waiting room at the Tel Hashomer MRI Institute, catching my breath after the latest, maddening phlegm attack that overcame me on my way from the car to the C.T. scan, the whole thing seems like a distant, faraway dream, not something real and tangible. Just five days ago, I got back from abroad, from London, from a luxury trip, from an unforgettable experience, from an island of enormous pleasure that fell in my lap right in the middle of the tragic insanity that has possessed my life for the last year and a half. Just five days ago, I landed in Israel with another twenty four courageous women, each coping in her own way and on her own special path with the dreaded illness - cancer. So ended an enchanting adventure, full of light and hope, that we enjoyed thanks to the efforts of Ezer Mizion and under their close supervision. It was the most beautiful gift I received in my entire life. When Rachel, the social worker of the oncology ward in Tel Hashomer, called to tell me that soon a group of women with cancer would be organized for a trip abroad, and that I was going to be among them, I was more than a bit surprised. My life experience in recent times has taught me that most telephone conversations are bitter, damp with tears, bringing depressing news, or dealing with enervating, endless bureaucracy. And here, all of a sudden - a glimmer of happiness, of hope and sweet anticipation, right in the middle of an ordinary spring day. Before long, in answer to my curiosity, the captivating details began to arrive, suffusing me with real, invigorating excitement. I learned that Ezer Mizion (an organization that exists since 1979, its raison d'etre - to ease the physical and emotional pain of people suffering from serious illness) has been organizing trips abroad for groups of children with cancer for the last several years, and recently began implementing the idea of organizing a similar trip for women. This time, in 2009, there would be two groups, one consisting of young teens and the second adult women, most of them mothers, with the common thread being that they all have cancer. Some are newcomers to the disease, while others have been ill for years - but all are fighting a fierce, draining battle, full of heroism and courage, against this stubborn enemy. The trip is organized by the amazing Ezer Mizion staff here in Israel - Dr. Bracha Zisser, director of the Oranit Center, Rivka Friedman, Ezer Mizion coordinator of care for mothers with cancer, Edit Ever, Yomi Dzialovsky, Brach Meir, Cookie and Amalia. With the exception of Bracha Zisser - who was with us spiritually and virtually, if not physically - all the rest joined us on the trip, appearing each day like heavenly angels, full of an inconceivable and interminable capacity to give. And believe me, even when one of us (yes, yes, I plead guilty...) stretched their patience to the limit with somewhat self-centered behavior - it was all received with a smile, understanding, and endless love and warmth. Where did we go? It doesn't really make that much of a difference. It was the dynamics, everyone's unending energies, the genuine desire for life and pleasure that determined the trip's success, and according to these parameters, it was a lot more than just amazing. But, in any case, we can certainly mention that we stayed at a dream hotel called "Victoria Plaza", ate at luxurious restaurants, and visited an assortment of tourist spots and entertainment centers, such as - the huge wheel called the London Eye that gives a panoramic view of the city, the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum, the special, rib-tickling Duck Tour - an old, yellow, creaking bus that turns into a boat when it slides into the Thames River, manned by a sweet British fellow, with a great sense of humor, who made a special effort to give us a good time. As befits proper London tourists, we watched the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, only after visiting the House of Representatives and House of Lords in an exciting, well-planned tour led by Lord Janner, an awe-inspiring, congenial Jew in his eighties. We also strolled down the streets of London, emerging at the queen's second palace - Windsor castle. And all this is just a small sampling of all the wonderful sites we visited. Uri Geller, with his traditional hospitality, hosted us in his breathtaking estate, as if we were members of his household, no less. With generosity and patience, combined with a lot of attention and flowing love, Geller told us about his life, his work and especially shared with us his doctrines and belief in everything that has to do with the power of suggestion - in our case, in the specific context of healing the body through positive thought. When we parted with him, in addition to giving us his E-mail address in case we should want to be in contact with him, he also gave us genuine crystals that would help foster the positive energies in our body. It was so encouraging to once again receive such a flow of positive energy. Thank you Uri, and thanks in our name to your wife Chana too. It's hard to pinpoint what exactly was the high point of the trip - Was it the enthusiastic dancing at the theater, to the songs of the Ababa group in a sweet musical presentation, "Mama Mia", that nobody missed, no matter how tired or worn out she was? Or perhaps the spontaneous evening in the hotel lobby that went late into the night, with each of us opening up and telling personal things about our lives and our very complex feelings regarding cancer in particular, and life in general? It could well be that the prize for "most memorable moment" should go to the "no holds barred" shopping spree that we had on Oxford Street, when we spent the lavish "pocket money" that we got from Ezer Mizion - a real festival of giggles and unbridled fun. One event that any of the women would certainly point at as an incomparably beautiful and emotional experience was the dinner to which we were invited, that took place at the home of the Monheit family in the Golders Green neighborhood. The hosts, Sylvia and David Monheit, together with their daughters and the rest of the London Jewish community, under the able direction of Shoshana Maurer, organized, donated, and did everything - and I mean everything - so that our stay in this marvelous city would be especially wonderful and unforgettable. Shoshana tirelessly joined us from early morning until the wee hours of the night - taking care of all the details and organization with a humble smile and all her soul. Gentle, friendly Vered also linked up with us for two of the days. We met all of them that evening at the lovely Monheit family home, where we were royally served an elaborate, particularly tasty meal, full of culinary delights and tempting delicacies that were lovingly prepared with great effort by the women of community. Beforehand, and certainly afterwards, we all burst into lively dance together with our hosts to the accompaniment of Jewish melodies and songs whose words full of hope and faith simply could not leave you apathetic, no matter how weak or pained you felt. For a time, we forgot everything and really felt, with all our hearts, that we were very, very, very happy. When we loaded the suitcases on the bus that would take us to Heathrow airport at the end of intoxicating days (luggage that weighed twice as much as what we had brought with us due to the shopping, presents and other items that were added), I noticed for the first time the collapsed wheelchairs that were stuffed into the bus with great difficulty. It seems that the Ezer Mizion staff, ready for the worst case scenario, had brought the wheelchairs along for the trip, along with Dr. Elana Telman, who came along as a volunteer, leaving at home a husband and small children, just to make sure that we were all feeling good and receiving any medical support we might need. Fortunately, nobody had need for the wheelchairs, the medication, nor even the services of Dr. Telman; we simply enjoyed her very pleasant company. So, a great big thank you to all those who helped, organized, gave of themselves, donated and did on our behalf. A full length article would never suffice to capture in words all that you gave us. This trip was a rare kindness and a pure pleasure. Allow me to express the hope that nobody - ourselves included - should ever know sadness or illness, and that we should meet again soon, strong and happy, for a celebration trip, a trip for people who are healthy. Just a plain trip, a plain, ordinary trip. Yours forever in deepest appreciation, Gali P.
I want to write a bit about Ezer Mizion, but first, I want say that no words sufficient to describe what my family and I feel about this special organization. My name is E. and I am a 32 year-old mother of three. A year ago I became ill with breast cancer, and my entire world came crashing down. In the hospital I was told that there is an organization that organizes a summer camp for several days and I was asked if I want to come, together with my family. In truth, my first reaction was: What is there for me to do in a camp in my situation, after surgery - maybe cocoa and a roll and at the most a bracha. Nonetheless, we decided to go and from the very first minute we realized that we would get everything except the cocoa and the roll. The tremendous investment and organization were immediately obvious. We were so touched by the personal treatment and the warm embrace each member of the family received- as if he were the only one in the world. A jeeping trip, a visit to the Knesset, a trip to the Kotel, Luna Park, and much more were only part of five unforgettable days. Since then we have kept in touch with Mrs. Rivka Friedman, who has become like a second mother to us. Every telephone call we received from her relayed only good news. Ezer Mizion has helped us with many things and we learned that for these dear people, giving is fun; putting a smile on someone's face gives them pleasure. Ezer Mizion also helped us with our difficult financial circumstances. They fully equipped our son for school, and gave us scrip to help us enjoy the holidays. May they be blessed and may the Creator bless them all with health and long days.
Thank you note from an employee at the Rehabilitation Catering Service to her "colleagues" at Ezer Mizion To the wonderful staff and social workers I work with you, and greatly enjoy your wonderful attitude, The help and support that each of you give. And above all - "Ezer Mizion" - which I truly feel is an "Ezer" - a help. You all help people, and I see it every day in your department. Best wishes for much success and a pleasant vacation. Miri K. (who never forgets you)
Dear Yaniv and Hila, Today, Ya'arah learned wonderfully! The VOCA computer is absolutely fantastic and is very helpful in keeping her up with the lesson. For a child who is speech impaired, she is doing very well. I worked with her individually on worksheets in the holiday folder. We had pages on which all kinds of words were written, some connected to Purim, and some not. Ya'arah understood the task, typed in each word on the computer and when the picture appeared, she determined if the word was connected or not and checked off the answer on the worksheet. It was absolutely tremendous!
I had just finished the preventive therapy, which was particularly difficult for me. The "fun day" you sponsored was the first time in a long time that I felt alive. Something else important happened. Your volunteer explained that I had stopped eating not only because of the nausea but also because of fear, and that day I made a decision to start eating again! Therefore I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your welcome initiative. The day gave was a major step on my path to recovery!
I feel happily compelled to express our thanks, appreciation and admiration to the Ezer Mizion food services department in Jerusalem, under the direction of Mrs. Ditza Hertzberg. For many long weeks, we sat alongside a family member who was hospitalized after undergoing surgery in the cardiopulmonary department in Hadassah Ein Kerem. From the moment we made contact with Ezer Mizion, we received a hot meal every single day, served with a smile. You cannot imagine what a lifesaver - literally - these meals were for our family... At times, this was the only real food we ate all day! It truly gave us the physical strength and the boost of morale we needed for the balance of our stay. A special thank you to the dedicated women who toil, each in her own kitchen, to prepare the meals, with the loftiest intentions, despite their many other responsibilities, actualizing the words of Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, "Man was not created for himself, but rather to benefit others to the best of his ability." We can only bless you that G-d should heal all the ill, and that your work should be necessary only for the benefit of woman after birth and the elderly...
In an emotional encounter, Mira Chen (47), an Israeli stem cell donor from Haifa, and Dr. Joseph Morad (56), a Jewish physician from New York whose life was saved by her bone marrow donation, met for the first time. Dr. Morad, a father of five, has been fighting for his life for the last ten years, since he was first struck by cancer. Morad's doctors searched desperately in all existing bone marrow registries for a matching bone marrow donor, but a matching donor was not found. They almost gave up hope. Mira Chen's decision to join the Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow donor pool during the stem cell donor recruitment drive in 2007 gave Dr. Joseph Morad the precious gift of life. About two months after Chen joined the registry, Morad received the news that an appropriate donor with the long awaited genetic match had been found in the Ezer Mizion registry. Two years ago, the bone marrow transplant took place in New York where Morad was hospitalized. His life was saved. At the moving, greatly anticipated meeting between them, Morad thanked Chen with deep emotion for her donation that saved his life: "The world exists in the merit of people like you. If not for you, I wouldn't be here today. I'm so happy, and I cannot thank you enough for saving my life and for giving me the privilege to go on and to be here for my family." Mira Chen: "My father died of cancer in the blood twelve years ago. Now I feel as if I've closed a circle. We couldn't save my father, but with my bone marrow, I was able to save Joseph. I call upon everyone to come forward and donate bone marrow. It's a simple procedure that saves life. If someone can not join the registry because of age or health limitations, or if someone has already joined but wants to do more for this life-saving project, please sponsor the cost of processing blood samples of people who join the registry as new potential stem cell donors."
For Him it's a Drop of Blood - For Us it's an Entire World (10/09) The Mishori family finally met the man who saved their son Ilai's life. This is the kind of event that you can't speak about easily without sliding into clichÃ©s. That's because in this case, the clichÃ© is the simple truth: There wasn't a dry eye in the room. Yonatan Gur, Yediot Achronot-24 The first ones to arrive at Ezer Mizion's Guest Home for Children with Cancer in Petach Tikva were Ilai and his mother Dorli. The father, Ran, stayed home with fever. He wasn't feeling well, and did not want to endanger other children in the building whose immune system is compromised. Grandparents Bina and Benny Milner came along as reinforcements. Ilai, aged one year and nine months, pushed a carriage around, toddled here and there, and waded in the ball pit at the play center, not really aware of the tremendous excitement that surrounded him. "Ilai doesn't understand what's going on so well, but I am very, very excited," said Dorli. "I cannot even begin to describe what a different place we were in just a year ago. The passing of a year is a real landmark, not only because we can finally meet the person who gave Ilai life, but also because it means that the transplant was a success," she said, choking up as she spoke. "I'm afraid to even say the words." Yair Newman, the donor, who was anonymous to the Mishori family until the moment of the encounter, came to Ezer Mizion accompanied by his family. "All year long, I thought often about the child to whom I had donated my bone marrow. It just cannot be captured in words. Right now, my heart is beating hard," said Yair a few minutes before Ilai and his family entered the room where the moving encounter was to take place. "The greatest gift you could give him - you already gave. Now, we have a gift for you," said Dorli after the first few minutes of the two families' meeting. She handed Yair an impressive book, home published, named "To my dear donor." The colorful pages and bright pictures documented and illustrated Ilai's life from his birth, through the time of his illness and until his recovery, thanks to Yair's bone marrow donation. Gradually, the ice was broken. Yair took Ilai for a little walk through Ezer Mizion's on-site petting zoo. Ezer Mizion's Bone Marrow Donor Registry staff, along with Anat Yahel, the stem cell transplant coordinator at the Schneider children's hospital, looked on with interest and emotion from the side. "We waited so much for this meeting," said Dorli. "All year long we thought about this moment. I hope that we will maintain contact with Yair, because now, he is really like a brother to Ilai." The race against the illness: When Ilai was four and a half months old, he became ill with what looked then to be the flu. His body could not seem to shake the illness. He was hospitalized, but his condition continued to deteriorate into a serious case of pneumonia. A bone marrow test confirmed the doctor's fears. Ilai was suffering from a very rare genetic illness called HLH - a blood disease which strikes only one in every 1.2 million. In the course of the disease, the body attacks itself and destroys the immune system. At the first stage, Ilai underwent a difficult series of chemotherapy treatments and steroid injections in order to achieve a hiatus in the course of the illness. But it was clear that only a bone marrow replacement could ensure that the illness would not return. "There is nothing that can make your world collapse like such a situation," added the grandmother, Bina Milner. "We went through a very very hard time, but when the entire world is crumbling around you, what helped was the supportive family, a family that consisted of all those special people we met along the way - from the hospital and Ezer Mizion staff and volunteers and on to the bone marrow donor. Enlisted for Life: A few years earlier, Yair Newman, then 19 years old, was hanging around with his friends in Jerusalem. "We were just before our army stint, and we were out for a stroll. I saw an Ezer Mizion stem cell donor recruitment station, part of a national campaign that was taking place that day. Without giving the matter much thought, I gave a blood sample," related Yair, surrounded by his family who accompanied him to the moving meeting. "I felt that I had to join the registry by giving a small blodd sample. It seemed to me to be the right thing to do." For four years, the data lay in the Ezer Mizion donor pool not matching any of the hundreds of patients who were searching our registry, until it became clear that Yair was a good match for a bone marrow transplant to Ilai. "When Ezer Mizion's registry called me, I didn't even remember at first what they were talking about. But when they explained the matter to me, I agreed immediately to come down and give my stem cells," said Neuman, today a 24 year old resident of Beer Sheva. "I cannot describe in words the wonderful feeling it gives." The process elicited a not very big test tube of bone marrow, which was then injected into the body of the baby, Ilai, who was already after a series of aggressive chemotherapy treatments meant to wipe out whatever was left of his own defective bone marrow. After two very difficult weeks, during which his body fought against the foreign bone marrow that had invaded it, his condition began to improve. "Those were the hardest weeks of the entire span of the illness," says Mishori. "But gradually, the blood counts went up, and Ilai began to feel better. Two months later, he came home. We have no way of thanking Yair and Ezer Mizion for saving Ilai's life!"
“I’m scared,” cried the trembling septuagenarian waiting at the top of the stairs. “I’m scared to go down by myself and I’m scared about something else also.” And then he burst into tears. The kindly Ezer Mizion driver took his elbow and gently helped him descend the stairs. He waited till his elderly friend was seated comfortably and able to speak. “Can I help?” he asked softly. Three times a week he would come to this home to pick up the frail couple. The wife needed dialysis treatments and her husband would go along continuing the support of fifty years of marriage. The wife needed to be transported in a wheelchair. That did not daunt the Ezer Mizion driver. Carrying a patient down three flights of stairs is a routine part of every Ezer Mizion driver’s day. Hours later, the trip would need to be made in reverse with both patient and husband completely exhausted. Only the physical and emotional stamina of their ‘angel’ brought the exhausted couple back to their home to rest until the next treatment was due. And now the husband was the patient. His face still wet from tears, he began his story. “I’m very ill. I’ve suspected something for a long time and I finally went to the doctor. He made me undergo some tests and now….now I have to begin treatment. My wife doesn’t know. In her condition, this news could kill her. So I told her I wanted to begin going to a Yeshiva for pensioners. Who will take care of my wife, tell me?” wept the frail man of the house. “Who will take her to dialysis three times a week? Who will buy her bread and milk and clean the chicken for Shabbos? We’re barely surviving. She can make her way around the house a bit, do some of the very light household jobs but I do the rest. And now? What’s going to be now? The driver stopped the ambulance and turned around to look at his patient squarely in the eye. His eyes were soft and caring. “You won’t be alone!” he promised me. “Ezer Mizion is one big family. We’ll provide you with cooked food and bring you wherever you have to go. Whatever you need, we’ll be there for you. But please don’t cry. You need all your strength to fight the disease and conquer it!” That day, the driver stood by his patient’s side during the complete treatment. Personal plans, work-related needs all fell by the wayside. A fellow Jew needed him. On the way home, he suggested learning a bit so that his patient will be able to tell his wife how his first day at Yeshiva went. He took out a pocket sized g’morrah and began reading out loud with a heartwarming tune. “It brought back memories of my youth so many years ago. And I still remembered that g’morrah. I felt proud and very excited,” said the new ‘Yeshiva bachur’ as he ascended the steps with a grateful smile replacing the tears of only a few hours before. “You have a husband who is a Talmid Chacham,” he reported to his wife as he came home from his stint at the ‘Yeshiva’, “Look at me. In my old age, I’m beginning a new career.” She was so proud and I couldn’t help crying. For joy? In relief? Gratitude? Our angel kept every single one of his promises. We began receiving meals. A volunteer comes to keep my wife company and help out when I go for treatment, and a volunteer is there at the hospital to keep my spirits up during each one of my treatments. Our angel comes four times a week now for both my wife and myself and studies with me on each trip. Our studies give me strength to go on. My wife still doesn’t know a thing. I guess when my beard begins to fall out, she will guess. But I know Ezer Mizion will be with us then, too. With kindness. With love. With caring.”