‘Can I help you?’ These are words we hear all the time, usually in a commercial setting. The meaning behind them is: How can I satisfy you so that you will make a purchase and I can benefit from the profit. Rare is the meaning to be taken literally. Except with compassionate people like Ezer Mizion staff and volunteers who are searching for more and more ways of alleviating the plight of those suffering from life’s crises.
A few weeks ago, a toddler was badly burned. Ezer Mizion embraced the family with all that was needed, including daily rides to the hospital via our Linked to Life service. Two sample stories from the father:
I was being driven home by an Ezer Mizion volunteer when my daughter called me and told me that she and all her siblings want to visit the baby in the hospital. Before I even had a chance to process her request and think about the logistics, the volunteer, having overheard the conversation, immediately made a suggestion. ‘I have a 7 seater. Tonight I’ll take you together with all the kids to the hospital. Spend an hour with the baby and then I’ll bring you home.’
A different day. A different volunteer on a ride to the hospital for out-patient care. (All volunteers seem to be cut out of the same cloth.) The parents got a message that a burn specialist could see them. But only if they came immediately with the baby. It was the call they were waiting for. A golden opportunity. But how? The bewildered father mumbled into the phone that he was with a volunteer driver on the way to hospital and had no way to get to the specialist right then. He hadn’t understood how the mind of an Ezer Mizion volunteer works. The volunteer overheard the conversation and immediately shifted gears, both literally and figuratively, turned the car around to the specialist’s office located in a different city (!), waited until they finished the consultation, and then took them on to the hospital.
It’s two hours before Shabbos. Frantic preparations are well underway in every home. But the needs of the ill do not go according to anyone’s convenience. Nati is an oncology patient. She is about to go in for surgery and desperately wants the merit of lighting a candle for Rav Meir Baal HaNes. Can a volunteer come to help her? The Ezer Mizion devoted staff and volunteers were there for her then and after surgery to fulfill her every need.
A 20 year old girl had been ill for several years. Her condition has greatly worsened and things did not look good. So refined even in her illness, she expressed a hint of a wish to breathe some fresh air. And sea air would be absolutely wonderful although logistically completely out of reach. Ezer Mizion staff heard the words. They heard the sigh and they heard the unspoken wish of an impossible dream. And they went to work speaking to each of the senior doctors. Suggestions were made, rejected, replaced with new ones. And then came the call: you’ve got the ok! The Make-a-Wish ambulance arrived almost immediately and the party began. The atmosphere was festive and the patient was wreathed in smiles. Soon there it was. The vast ocean with its towering waves. The sea gulls. The salty air. And intense joy on the face of the patient. Ezer Mizion: We’re there when it hurts.