Deeply ingrained in the Ezer Mizion volunteer is to ‘be there’ both practically and in spirit with the needs of those suffering from life’s crises. It may be sharing tears when the prognosis is not good or it may be sharing smiles at a festive party like that which took place recently with Ofri who celebrated her last treatment, Note her grin. Doesn’t it say it all!Continue reading No Matter What is Needed
We can say it in numbers. 650,000 hot meals for family of seriously ill. 80,000 medical equipment loans. 4400 special needs children. Big numbers. Impressive, aren’t they? Or we can say it in people. Real people. People with feelings. People who cry.
People like the mother who had been looking forward to a delightful reunion with her family after birth until corona cancelled her plans. Diagnosis: positive. Tremendous tension. Will she be ok? Will she be able to care of the newborn? Will the newborn be ok? Quarantine. For the whole family. No preparations. No family to take her home. No exuberant welcome. No gleeful hodgepodge of a welcome-home supper put together by small, eager hands. No anticipation of Mommy soon taking over the kitchen providing that homey security that only mommies can do. No joy. Just anxiety, stress and worry. And then… on the heels of her entry – a warm delivery of 10 falafel portions. A message of caring and support for the difficult days to come. And the sun began to shine.Continue reading Big Numbers Little Numbers
When she was in Auschwitz, Malka did not believe there would be any future for her. Yet here she is now at the age of 101 (!) with children grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-greats. She is so grateful for what she has but she wants more. More family time. More nachas. She hasn’t seen her family for months And so she opted to take the covid vaccine. But taking the vaccine was easier said than done. How will she get to the HMO where it is given? It didn’t take long for her to remember the number that everyone in Israel knows by heart and call Ezer Mizion to discuss her plight. “Of course,’ came the cheery reply. “Ezer Mizion Ambulance Service will set up an appointment for you. They will carry you downstairs in a wheelchair if need be, help you every step of the way and then take you home again, all vaccinated, soon ready to see your family once again.Continue reading The Number that Everyone Knows
Readers may recall the daughter of an elderly corona patient who was unable to leave Romania to be there for her father due to covid restrictions. A walker for her father– what would normally be a simple request – became a major undertaking and it was only after many, many calls back and forth from Romania to Israel and to various departments at the hospital and at Ezer Mizion that Devorah, director at Ezer Mizion , was able to procure one. The daughter was ecstatic and couldn’t stop thanking Ezer Mizion. But her joy was short-lived.Continue reading Dying with Dignity…Dying with Love
Ezer Mizion’s ‘ Corona Alumnae’ have selflessly volunteered to help others now suffering as they did, not so long ago. A group delivering cake to hospitalized patients received the following note:
On behalf of the patients here in the ward, we want to thank Ezer Mizion for the delicious cakes that your volunteers brought us and gave out to everyone with all their hearts from the world outside.
(You might not believe this, but we actually saw patients licking the cake crumbs!! For real!!)
The volunteers passed the appreciation down the line to those volunteers who had baked the cakes.Continue reading Appreciation Down the Line
Chanukah is a holiday of light, warmth, and family togetherness.
For someone who is hospitalized, it is hard to feel all that. When the hospitalization is in a corona ward, the situation is even more complex.
Ezer Mizion’s volunteers in the corona wards took upon themselves a challenge: to bring the light of the Chanukah candles into the corona wards, too. Every day of Chanukah, a candle-lighting ceremony was held in the Jerusalem’s Herzog Hospital corona ward
One day of Chanukah, the volunteers — all “corona alumni” — came in full protective gear, with guitars and sufganiyot, to hold a Chanukah party in the ward.
In Shaare Zedek Hospital, too, there was candle-lighting each night and visits by volunteers to the wardo
In Hadassah Ein Kerem’s oncology ward, activities went on throughout Chanukah, climaxing with a special event with Yishai Rebo, who sang with the hospitalized children.
“We’ve set as our goal that no patient should remain alone on Chanukah, whether in the corona ward or in oncology,” said Yisrael Yeret, director of Ezer Mizion Jerusalem region services. “In addition to parties in hospitals, we distributed craft kits to families of oncology patients and large amounts of food to families who needed it. We also gave out groceries to people in quarantine, to cheer them up and to keep them supplied.
“In spite of the difficulty rallying volunteers on Chanukah in general, and specifically volunteers for the corona wards, we achieved our goal of brightening the holiday for people in challenging situations.”
Ezer Mizion held many Chanukah parties for patients, elderly, and people with special needs.
Ezer Mizion also operates a nationwide volunteer initiative in which people who have recovered from corona come to volunteer in corona wards, after undergoing a screening process in the hospitals. The volunteers give the hospitalized patients warmth, attention, encouragement and support and alleviate the burden on the medical staff. Every Ezer Mizion branch and many departments partner in these activities, along with their routine tasks and obligations.
Imagine long days of loneliness at home, days of sickness, compounded by boredom and fear.
The Corona period has decreed this kind of reality on many patients and their families. A reality of sitting at home for long stretches of time in fear due to their illness and in loneliness due to Corona.
At these dark and dreary moments, the Linked to Life volunteers go into action.
The Nidam family from Netivot has isolated itself of its own accord for many long months so as not to endanger the health of the father of the family, who is a cancer patient.
At Linked to Life Southern Region, they decided to take the family out for a fun outing. Avi Pedida, a jeep driver, volunteered to go out with the family for an unforgettable day.
The day began with a luxurious breakfast prepared by a group of Linked to Life volunteers in Netivot. From there, the family went on to a hike in the Negev Mountains. They rode horses and enjoyed a swim in a private pool. They finished off the action-packed day with a scrumptious cookout. “”Words are not enough to thank the Ezer Mizion Linked to Life volunteers,” said the father of the family. “They escort and support us in the most complex moments. They are our light in this very difficult period.”
Linked to Life is a network of Ezer Mizion volunteers who work through a Whatsapp app to provide aid to patients and their families, delivering medicines, equipment, and stem cell tests, among other assignments. Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life network numbers 10,000 volunteers in Israel with many more dedicated members abroad.
It’s 3:00 AM. Dark outside. The world is asleep. The shrill tone of a phone wakes him up. “Hello,” he answers groggily, unsure if the phone was part of his dream or not. “He can’t breathe! I’m so scared! The doctor says he needs an oxygen concentrator! Please, oh please help us!” Gone was the grogginess. In its place was concern and professionalism. The right questions were asked and answered. A trained volunteer was immediately dispatched with the machine and the Ezer Mizion director returned to his dreams…for a few minutes. Three (!) more calls from frightened families in Israel. One after the other, after the other. Three more concentrators set up. In the space of one dark, frightening hour, four corona patients who were able to safely remain at home. Four corona patients now in good health.
It’s 30 minutes before Shabbos candle lighting time. An Ezer Mizion staff head calls in. A concentrator is needed asap. A volunteer races to the branch to pick one up, races to the family, sets it up and explains its use as if there was all the time in the world, then resumes his race to shul (synagogue), sliding into his seat only a few minutes later than usual. L’cha dodi…
A patient no longer needs hospitalization. He is so anxious to leave. But even though hospitalization is no longer needed, respiratory assistance is. An oxygen concentrator would be the answer. Is there one available? Yes there is! Thanks to all of you out there who contributed so generously, many patients, under advice and guidance from their physicians, are able to continue their recuperation away from the hospital setting.Continue reading Take a Deep Breath
She could have been living down the block from us but no one knew. She was a victim of terror with psychological wounds that never healed. Physically she was not in good shape either. She had been diagnosed in February with a severe lung infection and was extremely weak. Alone in Israel and helpless, she turned to the only address she knew. And that was how an Ezer Mizion director found a heartrending email in her inbox. Continue reading When Words and Tomatoes Join Together to Create One Big Hug
“Think, everyone, think!” she cried out. “There has to be something! Something we can do even in the midst of corona.” We all sat there. We’re normally a creative bunch but the ideas were just not coming. Every year we hosted a retreat for families dealing with cancer. It was the highlight of the year for them, a time to bond with their family, good food, fun entertainment – a vacation from cancer. Away from hospitals and tests and treatments. Something to put a smile on faces that almost forgot how. It meant everything to the families whom, in addition to the medical situation, were suffering so much emotionally with many family relationships on the verge of collapse. Continue reading Think!