Profiles in Courage – April 2018

Two April Lemonade Fund applicants stand out as examples of family crises that can torpedo a breast cancer patient’s recovery unless they get financial assistance.

A. is a 49 year old immigrant from South America with two teenagers with special needs. She was recently divorced from a man who was physically abusive enough to force A. and her children to seek shelter in a home for victims of domestic violence. A. had a good job in city government until 2009 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment she was unable to return to her job due to the lasting impact of her treatments as well as issues with her husband and her children (one of whom had emotional problems severe enough to require extensive hospitalizations.) Despite this, A. worked part time in eldercare in an effort to support her children. A few months ago her breast cancer returned, this time in a more advanced stage, and A. is undergoing chemotherapy treatments that make working impossible. She is carrying heavy debt that she incurred during the period when she couldn’t work and she is finding it very difficult to manage. A.’s social worker submitted an application on A.’s behalf to the Lemonade Fund and she was awarded a Lemonade Fund financial relief grant so she can focus on recovery and her children.

V. is a married immigrant from Kazakhstan who worked as an office cleaner for many years. Her husband is a factory worker and they have two children. Their oldest son is a long time drug addict who lives with them and who has been in treatment multiple times. His addiction was severe enough to require a liver transplant. V. and her husband tried to support their son but over the years this support has almost bankrupted them and they are deeply in debt. V. continued to work, despite being in her mid-sixties, until she was diagnosed with breast cancer, requiring chemotherapy, a full mastectomy and radiation. V. is now unable to work and the family is in financial crisis. The Lemonade Fund approved them for a grant to help them get through this difficult time.

To Donate to the ESRA Lemonade Fund:

https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

 

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LEMONADE SPRING HOLIDAY NEWSLETTER


First, as is our yearly custom, a spring LEMONY recipe, good for Passover or any time. (Please read to the bottom for Lemonade Fund news.)

Lemon Herb Salad

MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN, courtesy of the New York Times

  • YIELD 6 servings
  • TIME15 minutes

Bitter herbs – the maror – are part of the Seder ritual, symbolizing the bitterness of slavery experienced by the Jews in Egypt. Endive, romaine and chicory (for which I’ve substituted radicchio) are present on many Sephardic ritual platters, but often they also appear in salads served with the meal. This can be served as a separate course or as a side dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 hearts of romaine lettuce
  • 1 small head radicchio
  • 2 Belgian endives
  • 1 ½ cups arugula or watercress, washed and dried
  • 1 rib celery, preferably from the heart, sliced very thin
  • 2 scallions, chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint(optional)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  •  Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

PREPARATION

  1. Wash and dry the romaine lettuce leaves and break into medium pieces. Separate the radicchio leaves and cut into medium pieces. Rinse and dry the endives and slice crosswise about 3/4 inch thick. Toss together all of the greens, the celery and the scallions in a large salad bowl and sprinkle the herbs over the top.
  2. Skin the garlic clove, cut in half and remove green shoots. Place in a mortar and pestle with a generous pinch of salt and mash to a paste. Work in the lemon juice and then the olive oil. Taste and adjust salt. Transfer to a jar until ready to serve the salad.
  3. Just before serving, shake the dressing in the jar, pour over the salad and toss.

Tips

  • Advance preparation: The greens can be prepared, wrapped in a clean kitchen towel and then sealed in plastic bags and refrigerated, several hours ahead.
  • Most of the calories come from the dressing; you can use less to reduce them.


A LEMONADE FUND STORY
WHAT WE DO:
HELPING NEEDY ISRAELI BREAST CANCER PATIENTS
WHO ARE IN FINANCIAL CRISIS

March 2018:

R., 48, is married with 2 children, 10 and 12. She worked in a supermarket stocking shelves until she was diagnosed with metastatic (Stage 4) breast cancer. (She can no longer work due to the side effects of her treatments.) Her husband, though partially disabled and unemployed, controls the household entirely, including all of the finances. He has forced estrangement from her family and friends, and R. is living in fear and isolation. She thinks her children need counseling but her husband will not permit it. The family has no income except for the minimal disability payments that they receive from the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi.)

Despite his cruelty, R. is afraid to leave her domineering husband for fear of orphaning her children completely. For the time being she and her hospital social worker submitted an application for an emergency Lemonade Fund grant that will be deposited in a new separate bank account that R. opened on her own. (In special cases such as this, grant checks can either be sent to the recipient via the social worker, or wired directly to the recipient’s separate bank account.) In this way, R. will have a sum of money that is completely her own, to spend as she sees fit. Though her situation remains precarious, R. will have a modicum of control of her own life…a small step toward personal empowerment (and maybe more,) during a very difficult time.

(See below to donate and help other Lemonade Fund applicants.)

 A THANK YOU AND A DONATION IN HONOR OF A MOTHER:

Hello,

We would like to make a donation to the Lemonade Fund in memory of our mother, ——-, who passed away in 2017. She suffered from breast cancer at age 45, but survived to live an active and rich life until the age of 85 when she passed away from breast cancer. Stage 4. Throughout her life she was a true and brave warrior in the face of illness, tragedy and hardship. She was always active and optimistic and yet gracious and accepting of death at the end of her life.

We would love to pass on a little part of her optimism to other women and hope that we can offer a little assistance to those women who are currentlty finding their own battle.

Sincerely,
Family of ——-



Click to Donate
YOU can help needy Israeli breast cancer patients by sponsoring ESRA Lemonade Fund grants.      
       AVERAGE LEMONADE FUND GRANT = NIS 2,500 ($720.)
  • Donate 1 month of grants for 1 Breast Center    NIS 12,500  ($3,600)
  • Donate 2.5 grants                                                   NIS   6,250  ($1,800)
  • Donate 1 full grant                                                  NIS   2,500  ($720)
  • Donate a half grant                                                 NIS  1,250   ($360)
  • Donate any amount                                                   Thank you!!!!!!
Tax deductible receipts are available for Israeli, US, UK or Australiandonations.

News****We are grateful to JNF (קק’ל) Australia for including the ESRA Lemonade Fund as one of their JNF SPECIFIC AND VITAL PROJECTS IN ISRAEL! Thank you!!!!
https://www.jnf.org.au/project-items/lemonadefund/

We continue to be grateful to Myisrael for supporting the ESRA Lemonade Fund as one of their charity projects.
http://www.myisraelcharity.org/project/view/375

Lemonade Fund is a welfare fund of  ESRA, a registered Israeli non-profit organization (No. 580037455.)

Profiles in Courage – March 2018

Breast Cancer + Domestic Abuse:

Sadly, we see too much of this combo in our Lemonade Fund grant applications. How does the Lemonade Fund handle situations in which an abusive spouse/partner completely controls the family bank account? The following is an example:

R., 48, is married with 2 children, 10 and 12. She worked in a supermarket stocking shelves until she was diagnosed with metastatic (Stage 4) breast cancer. (She can no longer work due to the side effects of her treatments.) Her husband, though partially disabled and unemployed, controls the household entirely, including all of the finances. He has forced estrangement from her family and friends, and R. is living in fear and isolation. She thinks her children need counseling but her husband will not permit it. The family has no income except for the minimal disability payments that they receive from the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi.)

Despite his cruelty, R. is afraid to leave her domineering husband for fear of orphaning her children completely. For the time being she and her hospital social worker submitted an application for an emergency Lemonade Fund grant that will be deposited in a new separate bank account that R. opened on her own. (In special cases such as this, grant checks can either be sent to the recipient via the social worker, or wired directly to the recipient’s separate bank account.) In this way, R. will have a sum of money that is completely her own, to spend as she sees fit. Though her situation remains precarious, R. will have a modicum of control of her own life…a small step toward personal empowerment (and maybe more,) during a very difficult time.

To Donate to the ESRA Lemonade Fund:

https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

 

Profiles in Courage – January 2018

This month, several of our applicants were young mothers who are balancing the challenge of parenting young children while undergoing chemotherapy.

E., the mother of an 18 month old was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. E. has had to stop working as a caretaker in a nursing home.  Her husband has lost time from work due to the demands of taking care of an ill wife and a young child. The family has incurred considerable debt. Their social worker turned to the ESRA Lemonade Fund on their behalf, requesting help for basic living expenses.

T., 33 years old, is the married mother of a toddler. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was in the early stages of a second pregnancy, and she had to make the difficult choice to terminate the pregnancy. Due to the side effects of treatments – chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and soon, radiation, T. had to leave her job as a kindergarten assistant. Her husband is a teacher, making a modest salary. Due to her medical and financial situation, T. is, understandably, quite stressed and depressed.

The Lemonade Fund awarded financial grants to E. and T., as well as special food coupons supplied by our inestimable supporters at Myisrael. The money for the food coupons  was raised during Myisrael’s Channuka campaign. The coupons for the Lemonade Fund were designated specifically for young mothers with breast cancer. The coupons will be used to purchase diapers, formula and food for these young families. Thank you, Myisrael!

Each food coupon costs NIS 300 ($88) This is a magical way to help these young families.

Let’s keep this going!!!!!!

To donate:

https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

December 2017 – Profiles in Courage

The story of one of our December grant recipients:

Y., a 45 year old divorcee, originally from Moldova, diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, lives with her father in the center of the country.  For many years, Y. sold cosmetics at a kiosk in a mall, supporting herself and her two children. Now she is in pain and confined to a wheelchair due to the side effects of her treatment. Y. and her father live on the small salary her father makes in eldercare, as well as her disability payments. Her children have their own issues and are unable to be of assistance. Y.’s social worker requested a Lemonade Fund grant for basic living expenses and extra household help. (Awarded this week.)

We at the Lemonade Fund would like to thank you for making 2017 a year of Lemonade. We hear from recipients directly, that your grants give them peace of mind financially while they’re in treatment. They also report that they see the grants as a gesture of love and caring. Thank you.

To donate: https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

November – Profiles in Courage

A. is a 67 year old mother of 7 from a Druze village in the north. Since 2013 she has been suffering from cancer, most recently breast cancer. A. and her husband, a disabled veteran of the IDF, have been living on pension and disability payments alone, and they are falling short each month. Through their hospital social worker they’ve applied to the Lemonade Fund for financial help. We were happy to award them a grant to help them pay for extra household help and transportation costs.

Some stories defy belief, they are so shrouded in misery. O. is a 47 year old ultra-Orthodox married mother of 3 children with Stage 4 breast cancer that has spread to her bones. She is primarily bedridden with difficult-to-control pain, and can only get around with a walker. Her husband has longstanding mental health issues and has accumulated so much debt that the family cannot secure housing and has had to move often. Their youngest child, age 7, has serious learning and behavioral difficulties. The oldest son is in a pre-army preparatory school; the middle child still lives at home. This family is in crisis on many fronts. The Lemonade Fund application, vetted by the breast center social work staff, requested help for day to day living expenses, additional childcare and transportation assistance. We approved an emergency relief grant to help O. and her family.

To donate: https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Thank you.

Imagine…

Imagine you are a mother of 7 children, ages 9-19, and your husband suddenly loses his eyesight due to a rare genetic disease. Your salary from the Beit Avot (Nursing Home) where you work as a caregiver, suddenly becomes the sole family income and you take on extra shifts. The stress in enormous, but you manage. Then you find a lump…

You decide it must be nothing, a side effect of all of the stress, and you wait, hoping it will disappear. You delay getting checked; you can’t take time off from work. And if something happens to you? Then what? It CANNOT be anything!

This is a story taken from an application for a Lemonade Fund grant. By the time this young mother made it to a doctor, she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Now imagine that she knew that there is a safety net here in Israel, an Emergency Relief Fund, to supplement lost income during treatment. Perhaps she would have gone to get checked sooner. She was awarded a Lemonade Fund grant which is helping her family while she is in treatment. Despite the delay, her situation is not hopeless, and we wish her a speedy recovery.

The ESRA Lemonade Fund gives one-time emergency financial grants to the neediest breast cancer patients in Israel, so that they can focus on getting well.

It is a simple formula. Donations from you go straight to carefully vetted applicants within a month of approval. Donations are tax deductible.

To Donate: https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

 

September – A Simple Formula

No one should have to be very ill and very poor at the same time. If you’re sick, you shouldn’t be worrying about how you can’t afford to put food on the table or pay your electric bill.

The ESRA Lemonade Fund gives one-time emergency financial grants to the neediest breast cancer patients in Israel, so that they can focus on getting well.

It is a simple formula. Donations from you go straight to carefully vetted applicants within a month of approval. Donations are tax deductible.

THE STORY OF A SEPTEMBER 2017 GRANT RECIPIENT:

M., an immigrant from Ethiopia, is a mother of 7 children (the youngest is 9 years old,) from a town near Haifa. Her husband has become visually impaired and can no longer work. M. was a hard worker, supporting her family as a nurses’ aide in a senior citizens home. She was laid off a few months before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and now she cannot work during a long course of treatment, first chemotherapy, then surgery followed by radiation. The family is getting some disability assistance from the National Insurance Institute, but a grant from the Lemonade Fund will tide this family over until they can get back on their feet.

This is what we do.

M. is one of 11 applicants this month. We are asking for your help.

“If any of your fellow citizens become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner or a stranger, so that they can continue to LIVE among you.” (Leviticus 25:35)

To Donate:     https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Thank you!

Profiles in Courage – August 2017

This month we are paying tribute to the husband of a breast cancer patient and a group of volunteers who are helping this family with the gift of cooked food. A. is a young mother from Azerbaijan, living in the center of the country with her husband and three children, ages 7-14. A.’s breast cancer has spread to her brain and her husband quit his day job and took on night work, so that he can care for his wife himself, during the day. A social worker called us to ask if we could help with cooked meals, as there was no one preparing food for the family. Within ONE HOUR of posting the request on our website and Facebook page, 2 months of every other day dinners (including delivery) were covered! The family is overwhelmed by the kindness that they are witnessing. The children now have cooked food and the husband is a bit more at peace. This is a powerful way to give.

The Lemonade Fund wants everyone to know that charity can come in many forms. Emergency financial grants are always needed, and we welcome your donations to allow us to continue our standard mission, but know that people in rough situations often need more than what money can buy.

You are welcome to sign up to be part of the “mealtrain” list, currently in the Sharon area. Because we have so many volunteers, most people do not have to cook more than once a month, if that.

We would love to expand our reach to other areas of Israel. The meal delivery schedule is run by a remarkable computer program and it is very little work to set up a calendar that sends reminders and has all the delivery info for volunteers.

If you’d like more info about starting a Lemonade Fund meal delivery effort outside of the Sharon area, or to sign up for our list in the Sharon area, please write to:

shari@lemonadefund.org

To donate to the Lemonade Fund:

https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

 

Seven Years of Plenty

IMG_20161211_133042.jpgEach year, at about this time, I come here to write a more personal note. On Tuesday, July 31st, Tisha B’Av, the Fast of the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, I’ll mark seven years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Seven years! 

I’ve changed in the seven years, since I heard the words, ‘you’ve got cancer.’ I enjoy numbers and the number “7” reminds me of the book of Genesis. In a way, recovering from cancer parallels the seven days of creation.

In the beginning… there is terror, an explosion of fear. Silence and complete blackness. One is deaf and blind to all but the question of a future. Will I survive? Is this the end? There is nothing but emptiness and a deep void. All is chaos. All is darkness.

And then the next day hope takes hold in a crevice. There is a dim sliver of light in the fissure that has formed. Darkness still reigns and nights are long and hard, but they are shooed away by the dawn, by morning. And one can begin to see the separation between darkness and light. Positivity is encapsulated in a sunrise. One reaches beyond the darkness, toward hope.

Once there is light,  the earth appears beneath one’s feet.  One can stand again; footing regained. Slowly there is clarity. The sky is above, the earth and water are below.  And with new focus there appears a plan for moving forward, one step at a time. A method for walking the earth once again. The course is rough at times, but with the ability to stand comes healing and recovery. Family, friends and community accompany and offer support along the way. And God is there, always there.

Even then it takes a while to learn to breathe. To believe that life is normal again. Only it isn’t normal and it never will be as it was, before cancer. There is what others call  a ‘new normal.’ There are scars, painful scars, but also an awakened strength and elegance. Everything is different because the stars, the moon, the sun never looked quite so exquisite as now. Life itself sparkles because our eyes have been reopened, wider this time. Nature, the greenery, the creatures that crawl, fly, swim and walk are so very beautiful as if we have all been born anew. 

And then the next few days fly by and here we are at seven, a full week of years. Over the years work is rewarding and the bonds of friendship and love tighten. Children mature, graduate, finish the army, graduate again, get jobs, get married. Families grow up and there is plenty of joy in all of this creation. New possibilities, opportunities, loves and beginnings. Life is bittersweet, too. Older grandparents pass away. Though very sad, this is the natural course of life. Wars are fought, too, young people are killed, on the battlefield, in the streets, in their homes. A twist of fate that is not in accordance with nature. Health is precarious at times; there are scans and scares. Last year I mourned the death of my mother, and this year we are celebrating the marriage of a child. Life is a complicated cycle, life is rich, but overall it is very good and we are here. Years of plenty.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the solemn fast of Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish year. I never saw this as a coincidence, choosing instead to hear the whisper of what was being conveyed to me. In the midst of fasting and mourning for the destruction of Jerusalem and the other Jewish tragedies that occurred on 9 Av, I was suddenly contemplating my own demise. Why such sad news on the most desperate of days?

Over the course of the first year post-diagnosis, the connection became came clear to me. On the Ninth of Av, we study the causes of national defeat and try to learn from history so as not to repeat mistakes. Sages say that the primary cause of the calamities on Tisha B’Av were from internal strife, not outside enemies. We were wretched to each other in business dealings, in politics, in social settings and in private relationships. We lost our holiness, our health as a nation. We became sick and ugly until it all fell apart.

When illness strikes, our bodies give out. We cannot always pinpoint causes, but we suddenly turn our attention to caring for the vessel in which we live, as never before. As we contemplate mortality, we learn to value what is important, things that we may have neglected in our busy day-to-day lives.

Upon recovery, our mission can be to understand what leads to devastation, whether as a nation or in one’s body. In both cases, for real recovery and reconstruction, compassion is needed. We need to work to SEE the other, and to reach out to them.  As a nation when we are tolerant of each other, we are united and strong.

Likewise, when people are ill they are weak and in need of support. The most fragile among us cannot help themselves and it is our duty to help them. With medical, communal or financial help, we gift them the fortitude to get treatment and heal.

Lemon_tree Allen Timothy Chang

Having breast cancer showed me how expensive it is to be seriously ill. The ESRA Lemonade Fund (the Israel Breast Cancer Emergency Relief Fund,) was founded in 2011 in order to help indigent breast cancer patients with basic non-medical expenses. The ESRA Lemonade Fund, a registered charity, gives one-time emergency grants to needy Israeli breast cancer patients, in treatment, so they can focus on recovery.  (Though this letter is not intended to be a fundraising appeal, contact us to donate, apply for help, or volunteer:  www.lemonadefund.org )

One story: A recent applicant, A., 35, is a former make-up artist and model. She has 3 children and Stage 4 breast cancer which has spread to her brain. Her husband quit his day job and is delivering newspapers at night so that he can care for his wife during the day. The family is living on the mother’s disability payments and the father’s meager salary. The Lemonade Fund awarded them an emergency financial grant. In addition, a group of amazing LF volunteers are delivering home-cooked meals to the family several times a week.

This is a small step toward tikun olam, repairing the world. Just as bodies can heal, societies can be bettered through acts of kindness. Tisha B’Av is a great opportunity for all of us to go from mourning destruction, to rebuilding connections through compassion.

“You have turned my sorrow into dancing. You have removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may sing to you and not be silent. My God forever will I thank you.”  

-Psalm 30

I am ever grateful for years of plenty, full of life and learning. Wishing all of you an easy and meaningful fast, and many years of peace, health and happiness.

Shari