“A Chinese Auction that Saves Lives” – It’s a catchy slogan that has been resounding in every home the last few weeks, but few understand the true meaning, and above all, the very painful meaning, that hides behind this very dramatic phrase.
Last week, a retreat for women struggling with cancer drew to a close.
More than 100 women: sick mothers, wives of sick husbands, and mothers of sick children attended the retreat. The women had one common denominator – long periods of sleeplessness from worry, pain, and unrelenting fear.
We were there. We at the Cancer Patient Support Division are used to a routine that is lined with pain. Every day, we give many families glimmers of hope and the strength to keep going. We encourage them not to fall into the pits of despair that lurk at every turn. We too stopped for a moment at the retreat, stepped out of the routine, non-stop doing, and linked up to those women, who welcomed this opportunity for a tiny break from the unceasing marathon… To an onlooker, it would appear as if they had flipped the pages to a different reality, an optimistic, smiling reality…
Six in the evening: it’s time to go back… Buses are waiting outside for over an hour already, but something stops me from leaving and stopping the program that hasn’t finished yet. Women, knowing all too well to where and what they are returning, grab another whiff of the fresh, clear air, free of troubles. Like me, the program directors, too, are unable to cut short this unstoppable song.
“On Thursday,” one of the women tells me on the way to the bus, “I felt like giving up. The doctors themselves are optimistic, but the tough journey concealed every ray of hope from me… Now, I am coming back to life!” – she announces suddenly, with new determination., With tears in her eyes, she adds – “You are like a gift from Heaven for me. In one swoop, you pulled the darkness aside and I discovered light I had forgotten exists.” “I am coming back to life!” she announces again, and I notice that dozens of heads around us are nodding along with her, joining in silent agreement with her feeling and her decision. Such a piercing, meaningful sentence!
I head homeward with trembling heart… “Thank you, Creator of the Universe!” – The words burst from my heart… “Thank you that we at Ezer Mizion are privileged again and again to be on the side of the givers – to be those who restore people to life!…”
Sometimes emotionally by instilling in them the will to live and sometimes in actuality by providing the DNA match for the bone marrow transplant, their last chance for survival.
And then I understood. It’s not just a winning slogan. It is the chilling reality for thousands of people who are waiting … For them – tomorrow is too late… A Chinese Auction that saves lives!