Lakewood, NJ – Four weeks ago, a delegation from RCCS, the Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society, went to visit Rav Matisyahu Salomon, mashgiach of Bais Medrash Govoah, to ask for his help with the cancer-stricken patients in Lakewood and elsewhere.
Reb Hershel Kohn, founder of RCCS, thought he would shock the mashgiach when he told him that RCCS has helped 80 patients in the Lakewood area over the past year or so. The mashgiach answered, “You are not telling me anything I don’t already know. They all come here first to cry their hearts out.”
That is the reason Rav Matisyahu insisted that the opening salvo towards a successful RCCS dinner in Lakewood – an asifas rabbonim – take place in his home, despite his frail health which precluded him from being present at that gathering.
The upcoming RCCS/Lakewood dinner is more than just an ordinary dinner. It’s a public gathering of hisorerus, berov am hadras melech, to beseech the Ribono Shel Olam to unleash His middas harachamim and send a refuah shelaimah to the many members of Klal Yisroel – our brothers, sisters, neighbors, friends, co-workers and chavrusos – who are suffering from this dreaded disease.
The inaugural RCCS/Lakewood dinner, at Bais Faiga Hall, will take place on Sunday, September 23, two nights before Yom Kippur, precisely during the yemei harachamim, an auspicious time for Klal Yisroel to come together and show the Ribono Shel Olam that we, too, are doing our part to help our suffering brethren. When we show that we care and will do whatever we can to alleviate the many burdens of these cholim, we hope and pray for Hashem to show us rachamim in a large way.
Over the past year, RCCS serviced over 776 cancer-stricken patients in the United States, plus 101 more in Eretz Yisroel.
In the United States, to battle cancer, one must have the best doctors, the best hospitals, and the right medications. Without insurance, this is all but impossible. RCCS sponsors over 300 health insurance policies each year for needy cancer-stricken families, resulting in one’s donation being multiplied many times over.
Just think: By sponsoring a policy for, say, $18,000, the insurance company pays out $400-$500,000 a year in medical costs for this patient. Where can you find better “leverage” for your charity “dollar”? In the last year, insurance companies have paid out close to $50 million dollars to cover RCCS patients.
In addition, RCCS provides these and hundreds of other patients with emergency financial subsidies, insurance advocacy, various critical social services, and invaluable referrals to medical professionals.
This past year saw RCCS’s expansion to Israel, geared for the specific needs of the Israeli patient. In less than a year, the RCCS/Yerushalayim caseload has grown to over 100 patients. As a result, the RCCS overall budget has topped the $5,000,000 mark, with approximately $700,000 earmarked for Lakewood patients, and thus the desperate need for a Lakewood dinner to help offset some of these costs.
At the aforementioned meeting at the mashgiach‘s home, Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Bais Medrash Govoah, stressed that supporting RCCS is not simply a chessed, or a nedavah of a few dollars, which is a nice thing to do, but, rather, “hatzolas nefashos.”
“Supporting RCCS,” said Rav Kotler, “is saving the life of a choleh, plain and simple. By showing the Ribono Shel Olam that we, as a community, are uniting and doing whatever we can for the cholim, by supporting with money as well as via tefillos for the cholim, Hashem will respond by allowing the work of RCCS, his shluchim, to bear positive fruit with a refuah shelaimah bekarov.”
The rosh yeshiva emphasized that the Sefer HaChaim dinner is being held at the most opportune time, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when all of Klal Yisroel needs zechuyos, and what bigger zechus is there than saving the lives of cholei Yisroel?
The final remarks at the asifas rabbonim were delivered by Reb Sruly Fried, Director of Programs and Services for Chai Lifeline, who attested to the vital importance of the services and financial support provided by RCCS.
“When a family first gets that dreaded diagnosis,” said Rabbi Fried, “there are so many overwhelming feelings that sweep over them: Which hospital should we go to? Which doctor should we call? How are we going to pay for the best treatment for our child without insurance?
“The very first thing we at Chai Lifeline tell such a family is, ‘Don’t worry, we will put you in touch with RCCS and you will be shown all the options of hospitals and insurance plans and the right one will be chosen – and paid for!'”
And that is why you, and every caring resident of Lakewood, should come out in force tonight at Bais Faiga Hall, to support the life-saving work of RCCS.