Three Little Miracles


yosef-chaim-goldingBy Rabbi Yosef C. Golding

Executive Director, Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society

Last week, I experienced a day that, hopefully, will stay with me for the rest of my life.

It was a day I interviewed the parents of three different young RCCS patients from Savannah, Georgia, from Lakewood, New Jersey, and from Flatbush, New York. The ages of the little boys ranged from 18 months to four-and-a-half years old. Their stories were varied, the details were all different, but the common denominator was that their children had battled cancer, they had exhibited super-human efforts (in my opinion) to help save their sons’ lives, and they were all grateful beyond words to all those who helped them get through their torturous odyssey, including the Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society.

Except for small hearing aids on two of the boys (certain chemotherapy can cause high-frequency hearing loss), the children seemed normal and were cheerful, friendly, bouncy, and, according to their doctors, cancer-free. They were all still taking some form of preventive chemotherapy, but the key word is “preventive.” They were all in remission.

I shudder to comprehend what they endured until this moment. One boy suffered through six rounds of chemotherapy and then an arduous, six-hour, liver surgery. Another underwent a bone marrow transplant to go along with the chemo. And the third had all-of-the-above…and then some. They all received optimal medical treatment. Money was never a problem, as their bills were covered by the insurance which was coordinated and subsidized by RCCS.

When I finished the interviews, I felt emotionally drained to the point of bewilderment: How did these brave parents survive their ordeals? What was the temporary, and possibly permanent, impact on the rest of their family? And were they finished with hospitals, chemo regimens, radiation therapies, IV needles, and sleepless nights or was it just a respite, chas veshalom?

Then I began to wonder about the rest of us: When we daven, do we – every day – insert names of cholim into the bracha of Refaeinu? Do we concentrate and listen when the shul gabbai makes a misheberach for the cholim, or do we just shmooze with our neighbor? Each and every day, do we thank Hashem for the good health he has given us? Do we ask him to keep our families healthy? Or do we run through the Amidah by rote, without feeling, without concentration, without thinking?

The following day, I received an email from one of the “heroes” I had just interviewed:

“Thank you again for all you and your staff at RCCS have done for our family. After our interview yesterday, I realized that while your organization may be primarily focused on helping patients get the medical care they desperately need, what RCCS achieves is far greater than that.

” In our particular situation, relieving us from the burden of the insurance nightmare not only enabled my son to get lifesaving treatment, but kept our entire family unit intact!

“Essentially, please convey to your donors that it was not one soul they saved with their contribution, but seven souls in our case. For that, we are forever indebted to RCCS.”

I tried to hold back my tears, I tried to put on a brave front, and I tried to brush it all off…but it was impossible. People ask me all the time how we at RCCS are able to put up with so much pain and suffering on a daily basis. I tell them that sometimes it is overwhelming, but when we hear of so many “miracles,” so many happy endings, it keeps us going strong. But when you enter the homes and see with your own eyes, hear with your own ears, experience a fraction of what these wonderful people have gone through, well, the emotions are not easy to ignore. In fact, it’s impossible.

I made all of the parents promise to invite me to the boys’ bar mitzvahs…and to their weddings, be’ezras Hashem. And so they promised.

Join me in praying for that day.

{Rabbi Yosef Chaim Golding for Newscenter}


  1. keep it up rccs.a very important org.I feel important to mention that they work with das torah and were the first organisation (other followed)as i hear to send statement , that they will folow das torah and won’t advertise on a particluar web site which was banned buy the gedolim.

  2. beautiful message, important message.
    IY”H heartfelt tefilos for Geula Shleima before any of those simchos come.
    Moshiach needs to come!!! AD MOSSAI !

  3. to #4 “they work with daas Torah” – By that, do you mean they consult with rabbonim? Up until a few years ago, that’s how we said it. “I’ll ask a rav a shaila.” Now, for some reason, we adopted a depersonalized way of expressing the idea that we will consult a rav, a posek.