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Gravesite of Rav Meir Baal HaNes

DIVISION OF CANCER SUPPORT. What does it mean? What does it mean to support a victim of cancer? Some answers are obvious. Helping out with the kids, providing meals, transportation, offering therapy to patient and members of the family that are finding it difficult to cope – all these will certainly be included. And then there’s the not so obvious.

During an illness, a patient experiences a sense of loss. Her very identity as a human being is threatened. No longer is she able to nurture her children, care for her husband leave alone volunteer to help others. She feels like a nonentity. Expressing a desire and having it fulfilled empowers the patient. “I count for something!” It raises her spirits and gives her a reason to live.

Ezer Mizion’s Make-A-Wish program has created ‘special days’ for so many of the ill and the elderly. The destinations are as varied as the people they serve and range from a trip to Meron for an elderly man to a tour of the old neighborhood for a nursing home patient, from ‘policeman for a day’ for a small boy to an elderly housebound mother visiting her cancer-stricken daughter. Many trips with the ill have a happy ending with the patient recovering and ‘paying back’ by registering as a volunteer to help others.

With some, a happy ending is not expected and support during this trying time is all the more needed. Such was the case of a terminally ill, young woman, mother of a large family. Each year, Ezer Mizion takes its 25,000 volunteers on a major trip to daven (pray) at various kvarim (holy gravesites). She so much wanted to be part of it but that was impossible. A whole day? Crowds of people? Out of the question. Yet it was this year, more than any other year, that such a visit was sorely needed. And so a special trip was arranged, just for her. Her own vehicle. Her own itinerary-one kever (grave) only.  She chose R’ Meir Baal HaNes. Much too weak to walk to the kever, Ezer Mizion volunteers carried her on a stretcher. The flow of tears began the moment they reached the kever. Tears of joy at being able to connect in such a deep way to kedusha (holiness). The visit came to a close. Her tears ended but those of the volunteers just began when she smiled at them and said, “Now I’m ready.”

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.