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סיפורים של אנשים שקיבלו סיוע מקרן לימונדה

סיפורים של אנשים שקיבלו סיוע מקרן לימונדה

סרטן השד בהקילה החרדית

א’ הינה אמא חרדית בת 47, הסובלת מסרטן השד שלב 4 אשר התפשט לעצמותיה.  לרב היא מרותקת למיטה בכאבים שקשה לרסן ומתניידת רק באמצעות הליכון. לבעלה בעיות נפשיות במשך זמן ממושך והוא צבר כל כך הרבה חובות שלמשפחה אין דיור מובטחת ובהסטוריה שלה הרבה העברות דירה.  לילד הצעיר ביותר, בן ה-7, בעיות למידה והתנהגות חמורות. בנם הבכור נמצא בבית-ספר קדם-צבאי והבן האמצעי גר בבית. המשפחה סובלת מבעיות במספר כיוונים. בקשתה לקרן הלימונדה, שנבדקה על-ידי עובדים סוציאלים ממרכז השד, ביקשה סיוע בהוצאות היום-יומיות, ותוספת סיוע בטיפול בילדים ובהסעות.

סרטן השד אצל הבדואינים שבנגב

ע’ בת 33, גרה בקהילה בדואית בבאר-שבע.  היא גילתה גידול בשד לקראת סוף הריונה הראשון.  ע’ עברה שנים של חוסר פוריות על מנת להיכנס להריון וכעת היא עומדת לפני לידה מזורזת וטיפול מידי בסרטן השד לאחר מכן.  בסיוע העובדת הסוציאלית שלה, ע’ כתבה לקרן הלימונדה ובקשה סיוע כספי לתקופה שלאחר הלידה. היא חשה שלא תוכל להתמודד עם הטיפולים והתינוק בד בבד ובאותו עת, היא מבקשת סיוע כספי בשכירות של מסייעת.  בעלה מובטל אך מחפש עבודה ואמה סובלת בסרטן השד גם היא.

שפחת מין לשעבר מאוקראינה

ג. הוברחה ארצה דרך מצרים, מאוקראינה.  כמו נשים צעירות רבות, הובטחה לה עבודה בארץ, אך גלתה, מאוחר מידי, שמדובר בזנות כפוייה.  לאחר מספר שנית כשפחת מין, היא נמלטה או ניצלה, ועשתה את דרכה לצפון הארץ. מצב משפחתה אינו ברור אבל יש לה שני ילדים קטנים מגבר ישראלי אליו היא לא נשואה.  הילדים גרים עמה ומסופר עליה שהיא אמא איכפתית. לאחרונה, היא גילתה שיש לה סרטן מתקדם בשד. היא מקבלת טיפול רפואי ונעזרת על-ידי עובדות סוציאליות באזור, שייצרו קשר עם קרן הלימונדה והגישה בשמה בקשה לסיוע.

במקור מצפון אפריקה, כעת גרה לבד וחיה על קצבה קטנה

א’ אשה רווקה, ממרוקו במקור, וכעת גרה בבאר-שבע, אשר לאחרונה אובחנה בסרטן השד.  כמו הרבה מבקשות סיוע מקרן הלימונדה, היא חיה בהכנסה קבועה מקצבה קטנה בדיור מסובסד.  פציינטיות מבוגרות הסובלות מסרטן השד, כמו א’ מופנות לא מעט לקרן הלימונדה של ESRA על ידי עובדים סוציאלים של בתי החולים מאחר ואין להן עודפי כספים ומסגרות תמיכה.  אין משפחה, אין חברים, אין קהילה. הן חיים בבדידות ומתקיימות בשולי החברה עד שהטרגדיה פוגעת בהם. ואז הכל מתפרק. בשלב הזה, נכנסת לפעולה קרן הלימונדה. קרן הלימונדה מסייעת במקרי חירום כספיים של ישראלים הסובלים מסרטן, ומקנה מענקים על מנת לסייע להם לעבור את התקופות הקשות ביותר, על מנת שיוכלו להתרכז בהחלמתם.

סרטן השד בהקילה הערבית-ישראלית

א’ ערבייה ישראלית מהצפון, אם לשלושה ילדים, אחד מהם סובל מתסמונת דאוון.  היא נשואה. בשנה שעברה, בעלה איבד את מקום עבודתו. היא הפכה למפרנסת היחידה, עובדת פופולרית בבית חולים ישראל מזה שנים רבות, עד שהיא אובחנה בסרטן השד שחייב אותה לעבור כריטת השד בחודש יולי.  בקרוב, היא תתחיל בטיפול כימותרפיה. כל חברי המחלקה בה היא עובדת, יהודים, נוצרים ומוסלמים כאחד, סייעו לה בבקשתה לקרן הלימונדה.

סיוע למטפלים ומטפלות: בנה החייל של אמא הסובלת מסרטן השד מסייע לאמו משדה האימונים

זהו סיפורו של בנה של פציינטית הסובלת מסרטן השד.  פ’ חייל צעיר המשרת ביחידת גולני אשר אמו אובחנה בסרטן השד במצב מתקדם.  היא מתקשה לעכל את המחלה גם רגשית וגם פיזית. מאחר והיא אלמנה, בנה הבכור נדרש לטפל באמו במגוון של נושאים.  למשפחה בעייות כספיות רציניות. (הם חיים בקצבת הנכות והשכר הצבאי של פ’) כאשר טלפננו למספר הטלפון שהופיע בבקשתה של האם לסיוע מקרן הלימונדה, הופתענו לגלות שזה הטלפון של בנה בשדה האימונים.  בשעות הפנאי שלו הוא מטפל בניירת של אמו, מארגן לה תורים לרופאים וכדומה. לעיתים קרובות אנו רואים שמטפלים ממשפחות עניות של הסובלות מסרטן השד זקוקים גם הם לסיוע.

סרטן השד אצל גברים

ג’ גבר ממרכז הארץ הסובל מבעיות רפואייות כמעט כל חייו.  כעת הוא נלחם בפעם השנייה במחלת סרטן השד. אחוז אחד ממקרי סרטן השד מתרחשים אצל גברים ומאז הקמתה של קרן הלימונדה בשנת 2011, ג’ הינו מבקש הסיוע השני.  לאחר שאובחן לראושנה, הוא התגורר אצל אמו שסייעה לו בהוצאות. מאז, היא הלכה לעולמה וכעת הוא מתגורר אצל אחיו שבעצמו סובל ממחלה נפשית ולכן אינו מסוגל לתת לאחיו הרבה עזרה.  העובדה שהוא סובל מלימפדמה וסכרת מקשה עוד יותר על ג’ להתנייד. הוא אינו מסוגל לעבוד ונמצא במשבר כספי. העובד הסוציאלי שלו הגיש בקשה מטעמו לקרן הלימונדה והוא קיבל מענק על מנת לסייע לו לעבור תקופה קשה זו.

סרטן השד בהקילה הדרוזית

א’ בת 67, אם לשבעה ילדים מכפר דרוזי בצפון.  מאז 2013, היא סובלת מסרטן, ולאחרונה, מסרטן השד.  א’ ובעלה, נכה צה”ל חיים מפנסיה וקצבת מכות בלבד וכל חודש הם לא גומרים את החודש.  באמצעות העובד הסוציאלי שלהם, פנו לקרן הלימונדה בבקשה לסיוע. שמחנו לתת להם מענק שתסייע להם להשיג עזרה בבית ולסייע בהוצאות הנסיעות שלהם.

עזרו לנו לסייע למטופלות ומשפחות הסובלות ממחלה זו עם תרומתכם הנדיבה.

נא לתרום בלינק:

http://esra.org.il/index.php?option=com_rsform&view=rsform&formId=9&Itemid=1414

* היום ניתן גם להעביר תרומות באופן ישיר באמצעות העברה בנקאית

בכל שאלה – נא ליצור קשר עימנו :

info@lemonadefund.org

 

 

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Eight Years…

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Every year at about this time, in mid July, I am stopped in my tracks for a few days.
It is now eight years since life changed so remarkably for me. 

On July 18, 2010, I went for what I thought would be a routine mammogram. No reason to worry; no symptoms, no family history. It’s true what they say, that life can turn on a dime. I went into that test one person, and within an hour, I was another… a probable cancer patient. Two days later, which happened to coincide with the Ninth day of the Jewish month of Av, the fast of Tisha B’Av, the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar, I received the news that my biopsy was malignant and that I was indeed solemnly, a cancer patient.

What ensued was a whirlwind period of doctor visits, further testing, decisions, surgery and treatment. Followed by recovery, thank God. I am still recovering, both physically and emotionally, and I will forever be a different person than the one who walked into that mammogram booth in 2010. (A quick digression, a reminder to schedule your yearly medical screening. That routine mammogram saved my life.)

And though it was hard, really hard at times, I wouldn’t trade away what I’ve learned and the opportunities I’ve had, in the last eight years. Being seriously ill is one of the most out of control experiences one can have. Very quickly we learn that the only thing we can control when life throws us lemons, is our reaction. Sadness, anger and depression are certainly reasonable responses. But after a while one realizes that coming through a life-threatening event is an unimaginable gift, not to be squandered. Of course we don’t come out unscathed, but like clay passing through fire, we emerge stronger. 

During the year after my diagnosis, while going through treatment, I saw how expensive it was to have breast cancer. I couldn’t imagine how poor or even just-breaking-even patients managed. Spoke to social workers in Breast Centers and they confirmed that some patients didn’t manage, and that financial instability impacted recovery in indigent patients.

It wasn’t the medical care itself; breast cancer treatment is covered by Israeli national health insurance. It was more the ancillary costs, such as lost income, the need for extra childcare or household help, transport to treatments, specialty clothing, etc. Studies show that a formerly solvent family can be catapulted into bankruptcy within six months of a cancer diagnosis. Other countries had breast cancer emergency relief funds to help patients in financial distress, but not Israel.

One year to the date after that fateful mammogram, the ESRA Israel Breast Cancer Emergency Relief Fund, a.k.a, the ESRA Lemonade Fund was founded. Since August 2011, the Lemonade Fund has helped hundreds of breast cancer patients from all over Israel, from all sectors of Israeli society, with emergency grants, so that they can have peace of mind and focus on their recovery.

Breast cancer knows no boundaries. We are all human and vulnerable when we are sick.

Which brings me back to the extraordinary coincidence of receiving a diagnosis of cancer on Tisha B’Av… What, I always wonder, is the message in this? As we approach the Ninth of Av, it is a mistake to think that this day is the providence of the religious only. Anyone who understands the history and meaning behind the day will mark it as seriously as they mark Holocaust Memorial Day. The list of calamities that occurred on this date throughout history is devastating. Talmudic sources point to ‘baseless hatred’ between people as the cause of the destruction of the second temple and the loss of national sovereignty. Are we any better now? There is an unprecedented level of anger and vile hatred of the ‘other’ in modern day discourse.

Except in Israeli hospitals, where coexistence is the rule. Arab doctors work shoulder to shoulder with Jewish doctors, operating on patients with regard only to their diagnosis, not their origin, sexual, religious orientation or age. Jews forget their religious differences. People who wouldn’t walk on the same side of the street, (or pray next to each other at the Western Wall,) find common ground when facing a crisis. And it is the same in times of war. We pull together then, too.

Like victims of abuse, we don’t know how to live respectfully if we are not under the gun. Tisha B’Av is more than just a routine fast day for religious people. It is a wake up call to all of us about the perils of divisiveness. It is said that the residents of second century Jerusalem were astonished at the speed at which Jerusalem and the temple fell. Hatreds within our current society could tear us apart in no less time. Tolerance takes practice but it can be learned. We know that we can do it; we see that we transform into peaceful people within the walls of hospitals.

The ESRA Lemonade Fund has taught us that it’s much more rewarding to foster compassion and acceptance than anger and hate. A young Haredi mother with stage 4 breast cancer fears abandoning her children no more or less than a young secular mother from Tel Aviv. The antidote to ‘baseless hatred’ and potential destruction is really ‘baseless love.’ We can all do this.

Rav Joseph Soleveichik, one of the greatest Torah scholars of the modern age said, “Tisha B’Av is a day of limitless despair and boundless hope and faith.” Why hopeful? If we are open to it, this special day can be an extraordinary catalyst for change.

Wishing everyone a meaningful Ninth of Av, and years of good health and peace,

Shari Mendes

Founder and Director, ESRA Lemonade Fund

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

Profiles in Courage – May 2016

M. and her husband, a gentle couple in their mid-sixties, recently made aliyah from South America. Despite their limited Hebrew, they found jobs and were doing well. Within the last year, M.’s husband was laid off from his job and M. discovered a lump and was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to the side effects of chemotherapy, M. cannot work and the couple is now living solely on M.’s husband’s unemployment benefits. They’ve slid from solvency to financial crisis and they are feeling desperate. The Lemonade Fund was created for just such situations – and a Lemonade Fund grant was awarded to help tide them over and alleviate M.’s financial stress so she can focus on getting well.

H. has had a hard life by any standards. Yet she is proud and not accustomed to asking for help. She is a widow, living alone in the center of the country, suffering from mental illness and now breast cancer. She was orphaned at the age of 5 and was subsequently raised by various adults who mistreated her. When she was 29, her husband was killed in a car accident, leaving her to raise her two young children alone. She continued to work and support herself even after a diagnosis of schizophrenia. She has helped her daughter, who was also diagnosed with cancer, as a young mother. H. lives in a dilapidated flat without an elevator and is now quite ill from her treatments. She needs help with shopping, cooking and cleaning while she is so weak, but she has no extra money. Her social worker urged her to apply to the Lemonade Fund, and we were happy to award H. a grant to pay for some extra help. We wish H. (and her daughter,) a full recovery.

To donate to the Lemonade Fund: https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Thank you.

 

Five Years

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(Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, 1630, Rembrandt van Rijn)

FIVE YEARS…

Five years ago, on July 20, 2010, which coincided with the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The day of fasting to remember collective tragedy became the anniversary of the day my life changed forever as well. My personal feelings of desolation and destruction mirrored the words of the scroll of Lamentations, read on Tisha B’Av,

“Your ruin is as vast as the sea; who can heal you?” (Jeremiah, 2:13)

At the time, my ruin felt as vast as the sea. And yet…here I am. Five years renders no guarantee, and none of us, not those of us who’ve traversed the fields of illness nor those who’ve been left unscathed, know the future. But five years is five years. Years of raising children to adulthood, of love and of professional and personal fulfillment. Five very full years during which time I’ve healed, and witnessed much growth and happiness. Reconstruction borne out of destruction, for which I am ever grateful.

In another fine twist of fate, I’m privileged to reach my fifth year of health during a Sabbatical, a Shmitta year, here in Israel, also a message of healing. The Sabbatical year is agricultural in practice (land must lie fallow once every seven years, to replenish itself,) but the philosophy is one of social justice. Land is deemed ownerless, debts are forgiven and everyone partakes freely of the bounty of the land. We are all only borrowers of the land, and once every seven years we relinquish control and all stand together, as equals. The medieval scholar, Maimonides, writes that the commandments of the Sabbatical year are ‘meant to lead to pity and promoting the well-being of all men, as the Torah states, “That the poor of your people may eat.” (Shemot 23:11)

One of the highlights of these last five years has been the creation and growth of the Lemonade Fund, www.lemonadefund.org, the Israel Breast Cancer Emergency Relief Fund. In less than four years, the Lemonade Fund has helped many impoverished Israeli breast cancer patients with emergency financial aid during their illness.

The world has rarely seemed so perilous from the outside. This Tisha B’Av, talk of complete destruction (the nuclear kind) is up close and personal here in Israel. Antisemitism is epidemic throughout the world. Yet Talmudic sources claim that the cause of the downfall of Jerusalem, and all subsequent tragedies, came from within. We were not caring, even worse, we were hateful to one another. We followed the letter of the law but we cared not for justice, fairness or kindness.

The joint lessons of Tisha B’Av and the Sabbatical year are that we must be worthy of this national home we are fortunate to have after 2000 years of exile. We must work to maintain a society that is just and kind. To be inclusive rather than rejecting; reaching out to others who are different than us. To listen. To be patient. To be kind. To help those who are more unfortunate in a way that preserves their dignity. To be concerned about the welfare of those living within our borders. To reduce socioeconomic disparity. To avoid humiliating others, to avoid senseless hatred. …There are limitless ways to build a better world.

Just as the body can heal, societies can be repaired. Jeremiah rings hopeful at the end.

“I will bring them back to this place and cause them to live in safety. They will be my people and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one path, that they may always honor Me, and that all may go well with them and their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing them good, and I will inspire them to be in awe of Me, never turning away from Me. I will rejoice in doing good for them; and will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul.” (Jeremiah, 32:37-41)
Wishing you all an easy fast and many years of health and happiness.

Shari

December 2013 – Profiles in Courage

Y., is a married, 39-year-old mother of four from the center of the country. She was just diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer, this time in the form of metastases to her lungs. To make her story that much more difficult, her oldest son was just diagnosed with leukemia. Her husband, who works in a correctional institution, has exceeded his paid family leave benefits and is now on leave without pay in order to care for his wife, his son and his younger children. Though formerly solvent, this family has been pushed into financial crisis due to the impact of serious illness. The Lemonade Fund, aka, the Israel Breast Cancer Emergency Relief Fund, was created in order to help women like Y., and their families, and we awarded them a Lemonade Fund grant to tide them over during this difficult time.

The Lemonade Fund is a grass-roots organization with virtually no overhead.  More than 90% of the money donated to the Lemonade Fund goes directly to grants. We are able to do because of a conscious decision to keep things this way. Though we are an official, registered Israeli charity, we have no fancy offices, brochures, etc.,  – just direct  requests for your help. Please consider donating to the Lemonade Fund so we can continue this important work. (Donations will receive tax deductible receipts.)  Thank you.

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

TO READ MORE ABOUT THE LEMONADE FUND: https://lemonadefund.org/about/

November 2013 Profilee, A., Has Passed Away

The Lemonade Fund received a call from A.’s social worker today telling us that she had died. (Story of A., our November 2013 Profilee is copied below.) Rarely have we been as struck by an applicant, and I stood still and cried. A.’s sister is taking care of A’s children, and the money that we sent to A. will go to her young children.

November 2013 Profile in Courage – A.

‘A. is a 32 year old mother of three young children living in the center of the country. She is of Ethiopian Jewish descent, and was recently separated from her husband. A. supported the family by working in a supermarket, stocking shelves, but had to stop working recently when she discovered she had metastatic breast cancer. She is now undergoing aggressive treatment and has moved in with her parents in the south so that they can help her care for her children as she can no longer do so alone. Throughout all of this, A. has not let go of a private mission – to complete her education. She petitioned the Lemonade Fund for financial help with necessities but she also wrote about her dream.  A. has been studying at night for a college degree and doesn’t want anything, not even serious illness, to get in her way. She says that it gives her hope for her future. We at the Lemonade Fund see our help as a complementary form of medicine. The mind-body connection is powerful, and a reason to be hopeful may be as important to A. as her chemotherapy. The Lemonade Fund is inspired by people like A., and it is we who are privileged to help her.

The Lemonade Fund, an offical Israeli registered charity, is the only Breast Cancer Emergency Relief Fund in Israel. We give grants to needy applicants in active treatment for breast cancer, regardless of race, religiion or nationality.  

PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION RIGHT NOW…Thank you.

To Donate: 

The Lemonade Fund is a welfare project administered by the Israeli volunteer organization, ESRA (English Speaking Residents Association.) Donations are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt.

Online: http://www.esra.org.il/donation-form 

By Telephone: Call the ESRA office and make your donation by credit card (972) (9-950-8371).

By Check: (Israeli checks must be made out to ‘ESRA.’ )

In Israel, mail checks to:

ESRA, Lemonade Fund, POB 175, Raanana, Israel 43101

(American Checks must be made out to ‘PEF.’ Please attach a note earmarking the donation to ‘The Lemonade Fund.’)

In the US, mail checks to:

P.E.F. Endowment Funds, Inc., Room 607 317 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Tel: 212-599-1260.

Tax Exempt donation from the United Kingdom and other countries: Please contact the ESRA office to find out the best way of making your donation to ESRA from your country. Call ESRA +972-9-9508371, email: admin@esra.org.il

Teenagers looking for summer volunteer opportunity?

This is a position that can be done in the comfort of your own home, alone or with friends, using a screen, even Facebook! The Lemonade Fund has pages of content, on our website and Facebook page, written in simple English, that need to be translated into Hebrew. (On another note, eventually we would love to translate into Arabic, Russian and Amharic,  as well.  Feel free to dive into these languages, too!) We also have plenty of other opportunities involving the continued development of our website and our Facebook page. No professional experience required, just enthusiasm and energy. Please contact the Lemonade Fund at israelbcerf@gmail.com

Thanks!

Summer Volunteer Opportunity for Teenagers

This is a position that can be done in the comfort of your own home, alone or with friends, using a screen, even Facebook! The Lemonade Fund has pages of content, on our website and Facebook page, written in simple English, that need to be translated into Hebrew. (On another note, we would like to translate into Arabic, Russian and Amharic,  as well.  If you speak any of these languages, or know a friend who does, that would be great, too.) We also have plenty of other opportunities involving the continued development of our website and our Facebook page. No professional experience required, just enthusiasm and energy. Please contact the Lemonade Fund at israelbcerf@gmail.com

Thanks!

3 Years! A Personal Message

Though the Lemonade Fund, www.lemonadefund.org, would never turn away donations, today I am personally asking for something other than money.

Three years ago this week, in July 2010, specifically on the Jewish day of Tisha B’Av,  I received the news that I had breast cancer. The year that followed was difficult, but I had excellent medical care, faith and support, and I am happy to say that I felt fine by the following Tisha B’Av.

As they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. A serious illness is terrifying, and one can focus on little beyond survival. During that initial year I was also struck by how costly it was to be sick and I became concerned about patients who were dealing with breast cancer and poverty at the same time. Thus, exactly one year later, in August 2011, on erev Tisha B’Av, the Israel Breast Cancer Emergency Relief Fund, aka, the Lemonade Fund, was born. Since then, the Lemonade Fund has given one-time grants to many needy Israeli breast cancer patients, to help alleviate financial pressure while they are undergoing treatment.

While I am heartened that we can help these patients financially, there is another way I would like to ask for your help. Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, begins tomorrow evening. The fractious nature of Jewish society is often blamed for the historic tragedies that befell us on this day, and we hear many calls for Jewish unity at this time of year. Great idea, but how do we implement ‘tikun olam’ (repairing the world) at a grass-roots level? How do we begin?

Personally. One to one.

At the Lemonade Fund, our focus is illness. Most of the women (though men can get breast cancer, all of our grantees to date have been women) who have received Lemonade Fund grants are desperately ill. The poor often don’t get medical help until disease is advanced. Many are young and single parents. Children are impacted.

Please take a moment on Monday night/Tuesday to have these women in mind. If it is your way, please pray for them. (You can read many of their stories on the website.) Volunteer at the Lemonade Fund; we welcome all volunteers. Or reach out to someone you may know who is ill. Call them, text them, visit them, connect with their caregivers and offer support. Pray for them.

That’s all. Thank you.

With collective acts of good, we can become closer and turn this day of destruction into a day of happiness and reconstruction. Petty hatred is incompatible with compassion. Illness knows no boundaries; enemies share hospital rooms and heal together. I have had the good fortune, thank God,  to see this date, Tisha B’Av, transformed into an anniversary of recovery, of hope. May we all merit to continue in this direction, together.

Thanks, Shari

Israel Breast Cancer Emergency Relief Fund (IBCERF)

c/o ESRA
P.O.Box 3132
Herzliya 46104, Israel
email: info@lemonadefund.org
Please like our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/IBCERF
Consider having your next gift help the Lemonade Fund www.mgifts.org.

Financial Cost of Having Cancer

Financial Cost of Having Cancer

Suleika Jaouad, age 24, has been chronicling her experience with cancer. In this column she touches on the financial cost of having cancer. Even with universal health insurance (as we have here in Israel,) the ancillary costs of a serious illness are substantial. Great article. Thanks to charities such as the Lemonade Fund that help patients cope financially while undergoing treatment.