Party With a Purpose: Cancer Research

Keatings with Nydia Han sitting at banquet table..

Dan and Sarah Keating with Nydia Han.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) was once again the beneficiary of the annual Party with a PurposeĀ fundraiser, with over 450 guests attending the event this fall. Dan and Sarah Keating received the Humanitarian Award for their dedication to cancer research. Dr. Stephen Rubin, of Fox Chase Cancer Center, was awarded the Scientific Achievement Award. Nydia Han, a newscaster with TV station 6abc, served as emcee. Beverly Goldberg, co-chair of the gala, announced that funds raised this year would go toward the research and treatment of ovarian cancer. [Read more…]

Flyers Founder Ed Snider: 1933-2016

Ed Snider

Ed Snider (AP Photo/George Widman)

Ed Snider, the Philadelphia Flyers founder whose Bullies became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup, died Monday after a two-year battle with bladder cancer. He was 83.

Snider was weakened by cancer, the disease that kept him from his beloved Philadelphia Flyers. General manager Ron Hextall went to Snider’s home in California in December before a scouting trip, watching what would be their last Flyers game together on TV. The St. Louis Blues led 3-0 in the second period, souring the mood. [Read more…]

Israeli Bride Doesn’t Let Rare Snowstorm Stop Her Wedding

This Jerusalem-based bride to the right had many plans for her wedding day, but they did not include traveling to her wedding via an ambulance during a major snowstorm.

Ezer Mizion ambulances spent the day transporting chemo and dialysis patients, and food to hospitals, and topped off the day with transporting this kallah to her wedding.

Photo: Ezer Mizion.

Infrared Meteostat Visualization: EUMETSAT.

Cartoon after the jump.

Courtesy of The Cartoon Kronicles.

Co-Authors to Sign Breast Health Book in Philadelphia

In conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Joyce Kirschner and Ted Eisenberg will be signing their book The Scoop on Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths at Barnes & Noble Rittenhouse Square (Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 5 p.m.) and at the Neshaminy Mall store (Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 5 p.m.).

Kirschner lost her mother to breast cancer when she was 8. That was in the early 1960s, well before mammograms, chemotherapy and genetic testing were routine. In 1973, she married Eisenberg, who later became a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, a decision inspired in part by Joyce’s early loss.

Since then, Eisenberg has taken care of more than 5,000 women, and the process always starts with an evaluation of breast health and a mammogram, if indicated. “The importance of breast health is a conversation everyone should be having, and it is an issue that’s long been on my mind,” he said.

Whether women are having breast augmentation, lift, reduction or reconstructive surgery, they want to look feminine, natural and proportional. They want their clothes to fit better. They also want their breasts to be symmetrical, but symmetry is a myth. Breasts are sisters, not twins.

More after the jump.
Joyce chose a career as an author and editor; she worked at the Jewish Exponent, wrote for Fodor’s Travel Guides, and co-authored the Dictionary of Jewish Words (A JPS Guide) with Ellen Scolnic.

The couple, who reside in Merion Station, drew on their experience to co-author the book, in which they answer hundreds of patient questions about breast development, breast health, and breast surgery. The book has won 10 national awards.

Eisenberg donates a portion of the proceeds from his breast surgery cases and book sales to Philadelphia’s Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation, which provides free mammograms for women with little or no medical insurance.

Come, Share My Dream

— by Rebecca Salame

A year ago today, I was in hospice care at home. For many years I lived with a rare lymphoma and a few other cancers, I’ve lived at end stage for far longer than anyone could ever have anticipated. I’ve had extra, and I know that, I’ve been truly blessed. By August 2011, my time was short,because of the nature of the main lymphoma I have to live with. I had so much tumor activity that I could no longer walk, use my hands, or see. So, hospice it was. My only chance at more time would be a stem cell transplant, and for Jewish people, finding a donor is not easy, since so few of us register. We must run drives and search for our matches, and most often, we do not find them.

More after the jump.
I was so grateful to be where I was, able to see my loved ones OK, able to know that life is so good, I was grateful for what I had, and I understood the odds against finding my match. I’m poor and live alone with my daughter, I couldn’t fund or run any drives. One of my cousins in Brooklyn had a drive for me, but no match came of it. Then,  in June 2012, a donor was found, a perfect match! I was given multiple chemo-therapies for months, trying to get me into shape for a transplant. Finally, I was ready, and my transplant was scheduled for December 7. The day before my scheduled transplant, as I was packing to go to the hospital, we lost my donor, they had a medical issue that precluded their ever donating. Well, yes, it was a disappointment, but then I had a dream, over and over, people were telling me that I had found 10,000 donors, that I had saved lives and I awakened from that dream and began to talk, and talk, and talk to anyone who would listen, to ask them to register, to teach them how important it is. My dream is to change the culture of donation, to get folks to register when they turn 18, for registering to be a rite of passage, akin to getting a driver’s license or registering to vote.

I got asked to be on Channel 11 in New York City’s Help Me Howard segment, and I went. I spoke about the importance of registering, for everyone.

I’ve had a few dozen drives around the country so far. I’m trying to raise funds for donors and drives. It isn’t easy, since I’m very ill, but I do my best, and I have a wonderful team to help me, the Icla Da Silva Foundation, an affiliate of Be The Match.

I may not have a match, but I want to change the future, I want it to be rare for someone to need to look for their match — after all, the fact is that we each have hundreds or thousands of matches alive at all times, they just don’t know that they are needed. If we all register at 18, everyone would have a match, even folks like me, Jewish folks, with rare genetics shared by less than 1% of the human race.

Today, I am still in partial remission, taking a drug that wasn’t available to me a year ago, having a chance at even more time, and out of hospice care! I am walking for months now, wearing clothes on most days, able to see with my eyes and not just my heart. And that means that I have a little bit of extra time, to talk to people, to share my story with them, and my dream. My friends lean on me, you know how it is, someone who is very ill seems a bit nobler,somehow, a bit more able to give guidance. I don’t know if that is always how it seems, but in my case, to my friends, it does, and I have always been someone who cheered others on. I’m good at loving people to their best selves. That was always my gift. It was why I thought I was here before this new dream came to me, this new goal, this mitzvah that I hope to fulfill. “Go ahead,” I tell my loved ones, and anyone I meet anywhere, “complain about anything to me! I love you. I see your challenges, frustrations, pain and hurts. But, for me, my hurts, my disappointments, they pale in the presence of this gift of existence, for me and for you.”

September 11: Look What My Husband Got Me For His Birthday

Comedian and Philadelphia Jewish Voice contributor Steve Hofstetter, whose birthday is today, decided to use the day for something serious. He made a video discouraging his 8 million social media people from birthday wishes, instead asking for donations to a cancer org that helped his wife during a difficult time.

If Only…

— by Chani Miller

A little over one month ago, Ezer Mizion coordinated a massive bone marrow donor drive throughout Israel.

For many cancer patients, the sole chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant. To be successful, both donor and patient must match genetically. It is essential to have a match readily available at the time of need as the patient’s condition can deteriorate quickly.

More after the jump.
The goal of the recent drive was to enlarge the Registry and increase the presence of underrepresented ethnicities. Different ethnic groups were represented at the drive by patients from various communities. Yosef Karchili, of Georgian descent, was one of the ethnic poster patients.

Unfortunately, Yosef passed away the morning of the drive. The 54-year-old blood cancer patient could not wait any more for the stem cell donor he needed that could have saved his life but was not found in time…

As the lab testing results return and are processed in the Registry, the urgency of having a matching donor ready for patients at their time of need was even further accented.

From among the twenty thousand people who joined the registry at the single day donor recruitment drive, there was one who is a perfect match for Karchili. If only the funding for this drive had been available earlier… if only this registrant had been on the database when the request for a transplant for Yosef had come in… If only the transplant would have been done in time, Karchili could have been alive today.

Ironically, the match is someone who works in the same building where Karchili was employed!

It is essential that Ezer Mizion’s Registry, the largest Jewish registry in the world, be enlarged from its current 600,000 to 1,000,000 registrants to ensure that there will be a matching donor there for almost every cancer patient when he needs it. A cancer patient cannot wait!

Have You Found A Match For My Mother Today?

— by Hannah Miller

He is only twelve but he knew his way around the large building with its many offices. He came every day and was known by the staff. He approached the entrance today. Tense. Anxious. His fists clenched in anticipation of what he would hear. His shoulders sagging in discouragement. But yet a tiny glimmer of hope in his eyes. The sign at the office door read Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Registry. It was a simple sign but it contained the world. His world. He entered. “Have  you found a match for my mother today,” he asked.

The staff found it so difficult to answer the boy. He knew he would receive an official call from the office if there was good news but he couldn’t wait for that. And so he came every day. His mother was dying of cancer but a bone marrow transplant could produce the cure. It was her only chance. And it was a good chance. With the transplant, his mother would bake him cupcakes again. She would grin with joy when he brought home a 100 on a test and join him on a trek through the mountains on a family trip. She would remind him to do his homework and he would beg to go out to play and promise to do it later. She would get angry at him and scold him and it would be wonderful. But now? Now she just lay there on the hospital bed. She didn’t even smile when he handed her his report card full of A’s. A button had come off his shirt and she didn’t even notice.

You see, the transplant can only take place if a donor who is a genetic match can be found and Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish Bone Marrow Registry in the world, had none. Genetic testing, unlike blood group testing, is very expensive. Ezer Mizion has close to 600,000 registrants but it is not enough. Many are saved but many are… not. Compassionate Jews the world over have become aware of the need for an enlarged Jewish registry as an insurance policy for worldwide Jewry and they contribute generously. As funding comes in, more are tested. Every day, new potential donors join the registry. The young boy will be there tomorrow again. He’ll ask his question again. And tomorrow the answer will be…