An Israeli organization, Refaeinu, works to make the best medical care possible for critically ill patients and offers summer camps to cheer up children with cancer and their families.
Many critically ill patients within Israel face numerous difficulties. They are deeply concerned about their health, but are unsure who to turn to in order to treat their condition, especially if their treatment is very costly and not fully covered under their health plan. “Many cancer-stricken people, including children, cannot receive the proper medications to treat and perhaps cure their disease because the country’s ‘health basket’ doesn’t include it,” says Rabbi Chaim Shapira, founder of Refaeinu.
Rabbi Shapira when asked, “What does this mean?”, explained: “It means that even if the cancer-stricken patient belongs to an HMO, they still might not be able to receive the newest and most potent form of medicine to treat their illness because the Israeli government might deem the medication too expensive and refuse to pay the costs of the treatment. People become so desperate that they’ll do almost anything to buy these medicines, including selling their homes, cars and furniture. We want to fight through this bureaucracy by creating a fund that will be used to underwrite the costs of such expensive medications that are not covered.”
HOW REFAEINU HELPS
This is where Refaeinu steps in to help. According to Shapira, “Many people don’t know where to go in these cases, as they seek both the best doctor available to treat their illness, as well as financial advice on how to pay the bill. This is exactly why Refaeinu exists.” Shapira, along with Refaeinu’s manager, Reuven Basseches, works with each individual or family to gather all of the information that they need in order to find the best doctors available for as affordable a price as possible. “Once I have an understanding of what I’m dealing with, then I’ll contact the best available doctor in his/her field of expertise and refer the patient for immediate treatment,” Shapira explained.
Refaeinu has hundreds of volunteers working across Israel to help critically ill patients, by either donating blood, delivering food to needy families, or driving patients to a nearby hospital when needed. “Some of our volunteers literally sit for hours with sick people at hospitals in Nahariyya, Tiberias and Safed because there was no one else around to help them,” Shapira stated. “There are also many people who don’t have access to proper transportation when they need to purchase medications. We want to provide them with a service that will take the worry out of their lives.”
However, Refaeinu doesn’t only help the critically ill. They help children who are suffering from shock and other emotional traumas as a result of rocket bombardments. The staff includes child psychologists, who create programs which will allow the youngsters to forget about the past and focus on fun activities. Additionally, Refaeinu has set up a fund to help young couples faced with fertility problems to be able to have children of their own.
SUMMER CAMPS FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER
While anyone who is stricken with malignant diseases suffers significantly, the fate of children with cancer is especially tragic. As a child sits in his or her hospital bed for months on end, his or her emotions alternate between hope, despair, confusion, and fear. They are deeply worried about what the future has in store. Each round of chemotherapy is painful and often causes the patient to suffer deep depression. Under such circumstances, it is critical to do what it takes to help these kids smile, even if for a brief period of time, providing them with renewed strength to continue their fight for life and recovery, and ultimately succeed in most cases.
During Refaeinu’s summer camp program, children with cancer are able to forget their difficult illness while having fun with their brothers, sisters, parents and members of their extended family. While in these summer camps, the child cancer patients and their families are able to enjoy a festive atmosphere full of music, dancing, parachuting, and beach activities surrounded by lush vegetation and the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea.
The main goal is to keep the children so busy with fun, fascinating programs that they do not have the time to think about their illness or pain. While such camps are costly, especially when close to 300 participants are involved, Rabbi Shapira emphasized that “the very moment it brings a smile to the face of a tormented child, it is worth every dollar.”
TO MAKE A DONATION:
We ask to please help this wonderful organization with its holy work by donating generously to Refaeinu. May God bless you for your kindness and generosity.
* $50 – Cost of 1 “Fare Well and Stay Well” Gift Package handed to each participant in the Camp
* $360 – “My Small Beneficiary” Sponsorship includes hosting one child for the entire Summer Camp
* $2500 – Sponsor a “Happy Day” appearance of a team of medical clowns for all of the children and their companions
Refaeinu – Ref: “Healthy Summer Campaign”
c/o Mr. Jacob Rubin
5101 18th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11204
Refaeinu – Ref: “Healthy Summer Campaign”
4 Rechov Hameyasdim
PO Box 7017
Bank Hapoalim Israel
Account Name: Refaeinu Venevashea
Account No.: 367407
Branch Number: 575
Bank Address: 28 Shmuel Hanatziv St. Netanya