Yad Sarah Makes a Real Difference in the Lives of Real People
Satisfied customer Joel out and about on his motorized scooter in downtown Jerusalem
Linda and Joel are in the prime of life. They made Aliyah five years ago from Detroit, joining most of their seven children who had already decided to make their home in Israel. They had it all – he a successful ophthalmologist, she a devoted mother and avid hobbyist – they looked forward to spending their later years enjoying their growing family of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Still youthful and active in their late sixties, the last thing on their mind was debilitating illness.
Recently returned from a month-long trip to South America, where they enjoyed the breathtaking scenery and the exotic Amazon, they were in the midst of a very busy Passover season when illness struck. Joel woke up one morning and could not move or stand. The doctors in the emergency room at Share Zedek Hospital made the devastating diagnosis – Guillaume-Barre syndrome, a rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system.
With supportive care and grueling physiotherapy, Joel would recover, but recovery would take many months. The long process would require great stamina and much faith. The adjustments to Joel and Linda’s lifestyle were many including a move to another apartment, this one without 16 steps up to the front door.
After two months in the hospital and then rehabilitation, Joel was ready to come home, but Linda and Joel needed help to cope with the daily tasks that could no longer be taken for granted.
Urged by a friend who volunteers at Yad Sarah, Linda and Joel visited the lending centre to see what was available. In addition to the standard wheelchair and crutches, they were thrilled to find they could borrow a motorized scooter, making it possible for Joel to now navigate the several blocks to the synagogue every day alone. Before, Linda had to push the wheelchair herself in order for Joel to be able to attend services and feel like he was getting back to his normal routine, crucial for anyone trying to recuperate from such a debilitating disease. The scooter frees up time for Linda, who, as Joel’s main caregiver, is in need of some TLC of her own.
Linda wanted to buy Joel a special chair with a lift in the seat so that Joel could raise himself from a sitting position to his walker by himself, again crucial for his self-esteem and eventual recovery and important to give Linda a break from the extreme physical exertion needed to care for her recovering husband. She priced the chairs at two different stores – one at 5,000 NIS and one at 3800 NIS. But, at Yad Sarah’s non-profit Yasam, the price was 1800 NIS, a great saving for a couple struggling to cope with mounting expenses and a possible permanent loss of income.
Linda: “it is impossible to describe how the scooter and the chair have changed both of our lives for the better, giving Joel much-needed independence and giving me some extra time for myself.”
Hospitality Suite Allowed me to rest and relax, all in close proximity to the hospital
Hedva has been caring for a sick husband in the hospital for weeks. He was injured in a car accident in Jerusalem and hospitalized in Shaare Zedek Medical Center for several weeks. Hedva lives in Petach Tikva and was traveling to Jerusalem every day to be with her husband. She mentioned this to her friend, Debbie, whose friend volunteers at Yad Sarah.
The friend told Debbie that Yad Sarah has a newly inaugurated hospitality centre where she can get a comfortable room for Shabbat and also during the week, so she does not have to travel back and forth every day.
The room is booked without charge on a first-come-first-served basis. Hedva called the number Debbie gave her and spent the next Shabbat in one of Yad Sarah’s beautifully appointed guest rooms. She has no words to describe how this has made a difference in her life. “I am so grateful to Yad Sarah. I was able to rest and relax, all in close proximity to the hospital. The past few weeks have been exhausting, both physically and emotionally, and the hospitality centre was just the thing I needed at the time.”
Normalizing Life with Less Pain
Rachel lives alone. She suffers from constant pain in both her knees, making it very hard for her to walk. Every movement is painful, including sitting down in and getting up from a chair. For individuals like Rachel, Yad Sarah has practical solutions that make a difference. Rachel borrowed a seat that fits on the toilet and raises its height, so Rachel can live a normal life with less pain. She also uses a shower chair from Yad Sarah, so she doesn’t have to worry about falling. Her family and friends can rest more easily, knowing Yad Sarah has the aids needed to keep her safe and comfortable.
The feedback from Yad Sarah clients is overwhelmingly positive. Yad Sarah bridges the needs of the population for rehabilitative equipment which permits them to continue living in their homes and not in institutions. Clients continue to feel they lead normal lives with the compassionate help of Yad Sarah.
Your generous donations make this work possible. We encourage you to please make a donation as often as possible. Your contribution can be directed to the many funds of Yad Sarah or to the general fund. Please do that today.