Every week, so many of us think of the news as what we see on front pages of newspapers. But every week there are families receiving life-changing news in the privacy of a doctor’s office.
Parents and children suddenly acquire new vocabularies, words for esoteric diseases and treatments, awareness of cell counts, medications and machineries, along with sage advisers for coping with what feels like uncharted situations.
A family can easily feel lonely, and some have found comfort through the phenomenon of social media, when these intensely private experiences become somewhat public. Strangers — or so they once seemed — become intimately aware of another’s sorrow, even participants in the cure, as when transplants are needed.
We’ve seen this most recently with Ayelet Nation, that vast collection of caring souls (nearly 6,000 on Facebook) that came together out of concern, even love, for Ayelet Galena, a 2-year-old girl who suffered from a rare bone marrow syndrome that required a transplant.
Ayelet tragically passed away Jan. 31, but that her life ended too briefly nevertheless illuminated the remarkable capacity for love and spirit, not only by Ayelet and her parents but by a supportive community. Surely other families in a similar situation might find it helpful — and might easily find a smile — to read the parents’ blog, “Eye on Ayelet” (http://ayeletgalena.tumblr.com/), for one model on how to cope and keep your spirit through these apocalyptic situations.
It is at times like this that we should be aware of how important it is to be tested, in search of bone marrow donors for others. We are appreciative of organizations like the Gift of Life bone marrow foundation (www.giftoflife.org) that does so much to facilitate matches.
There are numerous other organizations doing God’s work. For example, Chai Lifeline (https://www.chailifeline.org) is launching what it believes to be the first Jewish pediatric cancer survivors’ organization, with programs that will be conducive for Shabbat and other Jewish observance, and include kosher food.
May Ayelet’s memory and struggle be not only a blessing but an inspiration for all of us. May the Poupko-Galena family be comforted, and may all caregivers, transplant donors and patients know the many gifts of faith and strength.