Ilanit C. remembers what it was like to be able to eat anything she wanted. After losing her teeth as a result of serious illness, chewing has become a luxury she no longer takes for granted.
Five years ago, Ilanit was diagnosed with cancer. By the time it was discovered it was at an advanced stage. She was in critical condition and underwent aggressive chemotherapy to treat it. Ilanit then needed a bone marrow transplant. The good news was that her brother was a match! She underwent the transplant and all was going well until about six months later. Her body started to reject the transplant and she developed GVH disease. It was so severe that she once again found herself in a life threatening situation. Ilanit was hospitalized for four months, rarely seeing her two young boys. Even after she came home it was difficult to be the Mommy she once was. She spent the next six months sick and weak in bed while she continued to undergo treatment. Ilanit’s sister became her full time nurse, taking care of her every need, administering medications, and just being there for her.
As the GVH disease started to take its toll, Ilanit developed some of the typical side effects associated with the illness. One of them was the deterioration of her gums. Slowly her teeth began to fall out. After consulting with dentists, she was told that she would need 120,000 shekel ($30,000) to cover dental fees that would help her condition. Ilanit and her husband could not afford such an exorbitant amount of money. They were living on their monthly Bituach Leumi payment and her husband’s minimum wage salary was so meager that despite the awful situation, treatment was simply out of the question. With each day that went by, her untreated condition worsened.
Ilanit describes how she just didn’t know what to do, as she and her husband tirelessly looked for any opportunity they could find to get financial help. Finally, as Ilana describes, “after many, many, tefillot (prayers), we found a donor willing to sponsor 80,000 shekel towards my dental treatments.” She began the 2-year+ treatment and her upper teeth were restored. However, at that point they had to stop as there was no more money.
With her limited income, Ilanit cannot cover her family’s growing debt of everyday expenses and medication, let alone find the remaining funds to complete her treatment. Understandably she would like nothing more than to fix her lower teeth. She has temporary, plastic teeth for cosmetic purposes but eating is a major challenge. Ilanit describes how from minute to minute she has to figure out what kinds of foods she can actually chew. She is very limited in her choices and this makes it so hard for her. It has affected her life and subsequently, that of her family.
We would like to help Ilanit find a way to complete her dental restoration process, and help her regain some sense of normalcy. We want to give her the ability to feel like a person after all that she has gone through. The dentists will continue the process only if she can provide the remaining funds in advance.