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.”