The world turns…a trite cliché but filled with meaning for Hadas Laufer and her family. Thirteen years ago, Hadas’ parents underwent a nightmare. The subject of the nightmare, three-year-old Hadas herself, was unaware the time that her young life was in danger. Only a bone marrow transplant could save her. The search was on for a matching DNA and Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish registry in the world, was contacted. The family held their collective breath as Ezer Mizion’s vast database was searched. And then the phone rang. Trembling, they lifted the receiver. Seconds later the walls of their home reverberated with shouts of thanksgiving and joy. The answer was yes!
Ezer Mizion held their hands as the battle for life was fought. The transplant took place. Support programs kept the family’s spirits up. There were events and trips. Summer camp for Hadas and the whole family. The transplant did it is job. The fun times helped Hadas’ spirit become a perfect partner for her body. And finally, it was over. The war was won. Hadas was in remission. Health. Normalcy. And most important of all, life.
Hadas became a schoolgirl She learned her times tables, did her homework, played jump rope at recess. And suddenly she was grown up.
This summer vacation, Hadas, now sixteen, will work as a volunteer counselor at Ezer Mizion’s summer camp for cancer patients and their families.
“I was in this camp as a patient, and now I want to close the circle and come as a counselor.”
Dr. Bracha Zisser, founder and director of Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry defines Vacation: a chance to “recharge our batteries”, to step out of routine, and to draw energy for the coming day-to-day.
“For people whose “routine” is defined by medical tests, treatments, and hospital stays, vacation is not a luxury,” she explains. It is an absolute necessity to step from the depths of despair and fear, into blessed moments of joy and release.
Each year, Ezer Mizion coordinates summer camps for children and parents with cancer and their families. Our Summer Camp is the annual highlight of ongoing Donald Berman Rehabilitation Center cancer support activities that Ezer Mizion arranges for these children and their families. The summer camps include exciting activities, trips, fun and entertainment, all under top level medical supervision.
The serious illness of a parent or child impacts the whole family unit. When the entire family is involved in fighting serious illness, those who are closest and most important are often “left behind”. The Summer Camp activities, geared both for the cancer patients and their family members, give the children themselves a chance to relax and, at the same time, to restore the delicate network of family relationships that are strained by repeated hospitalizations through the course of treatment.
At Ezer Mizion, we know that happiness and optimism give cancer patients the strength to fight their illness. A positive state of mind is every bit as vital for recovery as are radiation, chemotherapy and drug therapy. The Ezer Mizion summer camp is the practical response to this need, fortifying cancer patients and their families in their struggle with life threatening illness.
Hadas, we welcome you back, this time as a counselor. You are a source of joy and hope to all of us.”