(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)
To recover from cancer, having the best doctors, treatment, or medication is not enough. Without hope and personal connection, the prognosis for cancer patients is decidedly poorer. This is exactly why Israel Cancer Support Network (ICSN) offers cancer patients and their families the warmth they need to survive emotionally and the firm support they need to meet the challenges of suffering through painful cancer treatments.
The emotional, physical, and fiscal strain of treating cancer, from arranging doctors’ appointments to meeting personal expenses and trying to maintain a “normal” family life, are hurdles that many have a tremendously difficult time overcoming.
In less than a decade, ICSN has helped over 11,000 families dealing with cancer, giving 50,000 car rides to cancer patients in need of transportation to the hospital and back. That comes out to 150 trips each day. ICSN uses a network of volunteers to create a community of support throughout Israel. Over 2,000 multilingual volunteers from the Jerusalem metro area and further away take time out of their busy lives to transport cancer-stricken children and adults to and from the hospital, around the clock year-round.
But these services represent only a fraction of what ICSN does.
ICSN sets up fully stocked, 24/7 coffee stations in cancer wards so that patients and families can savor a hot drink at any hour of the day. In its 15-year history, the organization has served over a million cups of coffee to cancer patients. ICSN also assists patients with the herculean task of gaining access to top doctors with long waiting lists for appointments.
The bottom line is that ICSN’s services are integral to the recovery of those who use them.
Many families suffer extreme difficulties as a result of cancer treatment and the financial damage caused by months of treatments can be crippling. Patients often lose their jobs due to the inability to work while parents miss countless hours of work accompanying their children to treatments. ICSN eases the burden by offering cash stipends and gift certificates to cover the cost of household help, including shoes, clothing, basic food items and life-saving drugs.
But beyond the financial, physical, and logistical help they provide, ICSN most importantly furnishes cancer patients with hope.
“A smiling volunteer driver picking you up in the middle of the night with his car to take you to the hospital is just as valuable as the cancer treatment itself,” said Shlomi, a recipient of ICSN’s services.
Personal outreach has a distinct therapeutic effect, according to Professor Dina Ben-Yehuda, director of Hematology at Hadassah Ein-Kerem and professor of Hematology at Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine. “When you battle a disease like cancer, the supporters are just as important as the fighters.”
During the High Holidays, ICSN goes the extra mile to give cancer patients in need the serene conditions in which to celebrate and usher in the new year.
ICSN functions entirely through donations with no external support.
Learn more about how you can help cure cancer.