What once brought Miriam Oden hope, now is a symbol of her isolation.
At 58, Oden has spent the last 23 years in her Jerusalem apartment with a beautiful view of the mountains outside her living room window. When she first moved here as a newlywed, this view made her feel like the world was open for all her hopes and dreams, but today it arouses feelings of isolation and devastation in a way that is hard for her to stomach – literally.
Since diagnosed with Gastric Cancer 6 years ago the disease has continued to spread, even in treatment.
“I know a part of getting better is being hopeful, but after all these years suffering hope is a tall order”. She admits from behind teary eyes, “How am I meant to have hope when walking from the table to the couch a few feet away feels like being asked to run a marathon? It’s so difficult and sometimes I just can’t…”
The difficult times she refers to include more than the draining treatments she’s undergone – the side effects of stomach cancer like swollen and bruised legs, extreme exhaustion and more make every step she takes a labored event.
“I try to stay positive and think of the good things in my life, like my kids or the kindness I’ve found in the people
Jerusalem-based Israel Cancer Support Network has been helping Miriam like free car rides to and from treatments with a dedicated and supportive driver to financial aid and household support, ICSN has been a constant source of on-going support from the beginning of her fight against cancer.
But beyond the financial, physical and logistical help they provide, they also provide Miriam with hope.
Miriam shared some of the things that remind her of the good in her life. “Arale, one of the founders of ICSN, often volunteers to take me to and from my treatments, he patiently helps me down the steps to his car and treks up them after, supporting me the entire time.”
“Sometimes I wonder how I’ll go on. The treatments are draining and I haven’t yet seen results – in fact it’s only gotten worse. When my volunteer driver comes and opens the door with smiles and patience even when I’m grumpy it inspires me to go on – to go to one more treatment and continue fighting for my life.”
This Chanukah as you light the menorah, remember the light that ICSN is bringing into the lives of cancer sufferers. ICSN functions entirely through donations with no external support. Your donation allows the lifesaving work of ICSN to continue.
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