Latest update: March 6th, 2014
Elisha Cohen’s war against cancer rages on. It has been a very challenging year that has taken a toll on the Cohen family. Their beloved 5 year old boy, Raphael Elisha Meir, was diagnosed with Anaplastic medulla blastoma brain and spine cancer in October, 2012. The day after Elisha was diagnosed, Elisha underwent surgery during which 70% of the tumor was removed. Following his surgery, Elisha suffered from posterior Fossa mutism syndrome, a common, debilitating side effect of neurosurgery which causes decreased muscle tone. This left Elisha unable to speak, eat, and walk.
Elisha had a very difficult year dealing with proton radiation therapy followed by chemotherapy. At the same time, Elisha underwent a rehabilitation process that has painfully helped him resume somewhat normal childhood activities once again. Elisha now talks, but he is still unable to swallow or walk.
In June of 2013, Elisha received promising news following an MRI scan, that his tumor had been eliminated. However, in early September, 2013, Elisha had his second MRI and received the unthinkable news that the Cohen family was unprepared to hear. The doctors at the Texas Children Hospital observed that the tumor had returned and declared that Elisha’s cancer had relapsed. This was devastating news for the Cohen’s after physicians uttered the horrifying statement that, “nothing else that could be done” for their sweet Elisha.
The Cohen family has been fighting this entire past year, thinking that the worst was behind them, only to learn that their worst fear and nightmare became their new reality. There is very little research that has been done on this rare form of cancer. Even more disheartening, if there is a treatment for medulla blastoma, Elisha is ineligible because of his young age and his inability to swallow.
In a desperate search for a non-toxic treatment and/or drug that could save Elisha’s life, the Cohens have identified an expensive drug. Elisha’s parents feel that they shouldn’t give up on fighting cancer. This is a desperate situation in which no one should ever be placed.
After being unable to find a treatment in Texas, The Cohen family has relocated to New York, where Rafael Elisha Meir is receiving care from specialists at Columbia University. They are so grateful for all the kindness and support given to them. The Jewish communities of New York, Houston and San Antonio have been unstoppable. The communities have embraced this family as their own.
As the Purim holiday approaches, we are collecting money for the Cohen family, as a community wide Matanot L’evyonim—gifts for the needy. Unfortunately, Rafael Elisha Meir’s situation is still very critical. He was admitted to the hospital on January 27. Since then, he has been in the ICU and almost every part of his body is connected to a machine. He was undergoing chemotherapy and had just completed this treatment cycle. He is unable to talk and he is unconscious most of the time.
It is heartbreaking to see the suffering of this child and the whole family. The effects of this ordeal are traumatic and seemingly unending.
The compassion of the Jewish people has been unbelievable, donating $123,400 through the website since November, relieving the financial burden off the Cohen family that has no steady income. However, their funds are now dwindling. With Pesach fast approaching, we want to help replenish the funds.
We would appreciate your support in this fundraiser. Please help us ease some of their financial stress.
As the Cohens have said: “We have tremendous gratitude to the greatest chessed that has been poured into us by taking the financial burden off it allows us to pay rent, buy food or purchase special expensive medical needs for Elisha, we can do so without having to worry and that really helps us to focus on Refael Elisha’s care.”
We pray to the Holy One, Blessed be He, that your continued generosity and kindness merit a refuah shlema—complete healing for Refael Elisha Meir ben Devorah.
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