Posts Tagged ‘cancer’
Over 200 hair salons across Israel took part in the annual nationwide drive to collect hair for the Zichron Menachem Cancer Support in Israel in partnership with Pantene Products Israel. From Kfar Tapuach to Herzliyah and from Arad to Haifa, women and girls donated their hair locks at hair salons that provided free haircuts during the three-day marathon that took place from November 24-26.
In Jerusalem, hundreds of girls, teens, and women as well as men (with long hair) arrived to the Malha Mall on Tuesday to take part in the opening event, where hundreds of braids were cut and sent to be made into wigs that will be donated to girls and women with cancer.
Jerusalem hair stylist, Lior Kakon told Tazpit News Agency that this was his first year participating in the initiative.
“I don’t have my own hair to contribute, so I do it through my profession. There were three high school girls today who stopped to get their free haircuts for this important initiative,” Kakon told Tazpit.
“I hope to cut hair again for Zichron Menachem drive next year.”
The non-profit Zichron Menachem was founded in 1990 in the memory of 15-year-old Menachem Ehrental, who died after battling cancer and provides practical and long-term aid and solutions to young cancer patients both at home and in the hospital. SMenachem’s father, Chaim thanked all the hair donors for their contributions on Wednesday. “The hair salons are doing holy work and I want to thank all those who contributed their hair for this cause.”
“We are creating wigs of all possible lengths and styles, in every color available, as well as every hair texture, from straight to curly and more, so that every cancer patient in Israel will be able to receive a new wig made of quality natural hair, identical to the hair she lost,” explained Ehrental. “The wigs are given for free and remain forever with the recipient.”
Any hair can be donated, except for severely damaged hair, hair that is completely white or gray and dreadlocks, as there is not sufficient demand for these hair types.
“Frequently, the first question that a girl or woman diagnosed with cancer asks the doctor, is how treatment will affect the hair on her head. The opportunity that we have to give those who are battling cancer, free quality wigs is vital to them and a moving experience for all those involved,” added Ehrental.
In the last two years, Pantene Products in Israel, as part of the company’s international campaign to encourage women to donate hair to women fighting cancer, has partnered with Zichron Menachem, contributing NIS 350,000 for the wig-making. Pantene also covers advertising costs for television, radio and the internet to encourage Israelis to donate their hair. Consequently, hair donations to Zichron Menachem have increased dramatically.
“Hair is precious, and it’s the greatest gift you can give away to someone who needs it,” Zichron Menachem spokeswoman, Devorah Sorotskin told Tazpit.
For sisters, Vered and Shirley, from Rishon Lezion, donating hair to the drive wasn’t a question. “Our father passed away battling cancer five years ago. We pray that no one will have to suffer from any more losses from this terrible disease,” said Shirley, who proudly watched her sister get her braid cut for the campaign.
“When our father passed away from cancer, one month after finding out he had it, there was nothing I could do to help. But today I got the opportunity to do something small – to give away my hair to those battling this disease,” said Vered.
Young Israeli women arrive at the Malcha Mall in Jerusalem to donate their hair to create wigs for cancer patients at a fundraiser arranged by “Zichron Menachem”, the Israeli Association for the Support of Children with Cancer and their Families (November 24, 2014).
All photos by Gershon Elinson/Flash90
For the first time ever, Israel’s Health Ministry has issued a warning to the public about electromagnetic radiation in its newly published, updated list of carcinogens, based on recommendations by the World Health Organization and a ministry committee.
For the first time, the list includes exposure to electromagnetic radiation as a possible cause of cancer, advising the public to be careful and reduce contact as much as possible.
Different ministries are in charge of enforcing the laws on exposure to the various carcinogens.
The new list, available in Hebrew only, is located on the ministry website. www.health.gov.il/Services/Committee/malignancy_substance/Pages/default.aspx
Substances such as teratogenic materials, those that can cause birth defects in unborn babies, are also on the list.
Occupational hazards are also listed – those to which workers are exposed in their workplace – as well as substances to which the general public is exposed in the general environment.
Researchers have come up with a new treatment to fight metastatic melanoma – a fierce form of cancer that is particularly difficult to overcome. The new medication, called Keytruda, works on the body’s immune system and just received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Keytruda, produced by the Merck pharmaceutical firm in the United States, does not focus on destroying the cancerous tissue with chemicals, but rather initiates a different process in the body’s natural immune system, which then attacks the cancerous cells on its own.
The treatment mechanism is called “immunotherapy” and if it lives up to its expectations, the world of oncology could see a new revolution within just a few years. One of the clinical trials is being carried out at Tel Aviv’s Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer Medical Center.
Some 250 of newly diagnosed melanoma patients in Israel per year suffer from metastatic tumors. Malignant melanomas usually start on the skin but can also start elsewhere. Israel ranks among the 20 nations in the world with the highest morbidity rates for the disease, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
“The new drug creates real potential for curing one of the deadliest forms of cancer at the negligible cost of light and tolerable side effects,” commented Prof. Jacob Schachter, head of the Ella Institute for Melanoma at Sheba Hospital. “Moreover, it completely alters the working assumptions in oncology treatment, as its working mechanism is effective in the war against other types of cancer too. There’s no doubt today that the holy grail of oncology lies in immunotherapy, which helps the body’s immune system to destroy the tumor’s cells itself.
“At this stage, we can only imagine the therapeutic potential of a combination of a number of such drugs, each acting on a different system, and some of which are already at an advanced stage of development. Among doctors, too, the scope of the breakthrough has yet to be digested.”
Rafael Asulin, 6 1/2 years old, has been fighting cancer since the age of six months.
He has watched his father, who volunteers for the United Hatzalah rescue group, run for three years on a daily basis to save lives.
Rafael has been inspired by his dad and dreams of having his own ambucycle when he grows older, and save lives just like his role model.
For Purim, his father made him a great surprise – a replica of his own ambucycle – complete with all the accessories: an electric motorcycle, United Hatzalah uniform and first aid kit.
Smile and cry.
Some songs stick with you for life.
Songs that bring back a flood of memory, emotion and tears from that one time you heard them in a particularly memorable context.
For me, one such song is Ana Bekoach, arranged and sung by Ovadia Hamama.
As Rav Yehuda Amital z”l used to say, “You must sing a nigun again and again, for only then will it drip, drip, drip into your soul.”
We were about to begin another sort of drip, drip, drip with our 12-year-old son, Gilad.
In September 2007, just before Sukkot, a CT scan had revealed a golf-ball-size growth pressing on his small intestine. This had completely blocked the passages, causing him to lose about 15 lbs in 12 days and to vomit anything he tried to eat. It actually reached the stage where he was vomiting green bile.
We were worried. To see your little boy suffering and thinning away day by day, to sense the doctors hesitating to commit to any diagnosis and to conjure up horrific scenarios that all begin with c and end in r.
Our tension rose on Shabbat Chol Hamoed, as the team at Hadassah Har HaTzofim removed the growth, cutting away part of Gilad’s intestine in the process and reattaching the two ends (apparently, the Creator gave us some slack on our intestines – we can live just fine with a few centimeters missing).
We had a week or so to wait for the pathology results as Gilad recovered from the operation. The surgeon and other doctors had expressed optimism and we were happy to defer to their expertise. They were wrong.
The Wednesday after Sukkot, October 10, we were summoned to the Pediatric Hema-Oncology Department at Hadassah Ein Karem, where the Head of Department, Dr. Mickey Weintraub, informed us of the pathology results: Stage 3 abdominal Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
Burkitt’s, although a very aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is very curable. However, because it is very aggressive and spreads quickly, the chemo also had to be aggressive and intensive.
We had no time to lose.
First thing next day we were back there for another operation, this time to implant a Hickman Line into Gilad’s chest (a device making it easier to take blood and administer chemotherapy without constantly pricking and poking needles into him), with the first round of chemo to start on Sunday.
It had all happened very quickly, with no time to process the maelstrom of emotions swirling around in my mind. Shock, denial, disbelief, sadness, panic, worry, helplessness, depression, despair, hope, faith, determination, prayer…
Thoughts and nightmares, drip drip drippin’ on Heaven’s door.
I don’t think I ever doubted Gilad would be okay… but of course you can never be sure. Every single miniscule drop of every single chemical, with the exact dosage, has to find its way to exactly the right even-more-miniscule cell at precisely the right time. And all the drips and drops have to work together to kill off any possibility of cancerous cell replication.
However sensitive, skilled and experienced the doctors and nurses may have been, that wasn’t entirely in their hands.
But all that was still ahead of us.
Back to that Thursday night.
After the shock and the running around for bureaucracy’s sake and the operation and the family-and-friends-telling and the phone calls and the emails, I felt a burning need to get away from it all. To slow down. Solitude. Silence.
So once we were home – and my wife and kids were all talking in the lounge – I grabbed one of my other kid’s MP3s (a small red one now well out of vogue), opened the back door and, after closing it, went outside to the yard.