Readers of multiple Jewish news outlets were shaken this week by the story of 20-year-old Yael Friedman, a young woman suffering from severe epilepsy in Israel. To her family’s shock, two recent surgeries intended to improve her condition significantly worsened her health. Each of Yael’s seizures is potentially deadly. She now suffers through a shocking 20 seizures a day. In an effort to save her life, doctors urged Yael’s family to fly to Cleveland, where she could be operated upon by an expert surgeon.
Yael is currently in Cleveland, post-surgery. The full effects of the surgery have yet to be confirmed. Her parents have used every cent of their income to obtain the surgery, and are currently struggling to afford places to stay, food, or childcare for their 7 other children during the rehabilitation period.
An emergency fund is currently open with the goal of covering the post-op treatments, modest living arrangements, and tickets back to their home country. Though many donors around the world have contributed, the family is still perilously far from their goal. Donations are being accepted here now.
This was original story:
A Beit Shemesh mother penned a vulnerable letter to the public Sunday morning, telling the “special and challenging” story of her daughter Yael, who suffers from severe epilepsy.
According to mother Sara’s retelling, Yael had an entirely normal upbringing. She had no health issues until shortly after her bat mitzvah, when she endured her first seizure. Not long afterward, the epilepsy was diagnosed.
In the years that have followed, Yael’s condition has steeply worsened. Recently, the family went through with their best option: major surgery. As the surgery day arrived, Yael and her siblings were both nervous for the procedure, and excited for the promise for a better future. One can only imagine their grief when the surgery was not only unsuccessful, but caused the teenage girl’s health to decline. Each seizure has the potential to kill. She now endures a shocking 20 seizures a day.
Doctors have strongly advised the family to fly to the United States as soon as possible, so that Yael can receive life-saving surgery from a specific expert surgeon in Cleveland. With a mother who stays home to tend to her epileptic daughter, and seven other siblings living off of one income, however, this is a sheer impossibility. The Friedman parents have had to do the unthinkable: To tell their daughter that they cannot save her life.
Mother Sara has opened an emergency fund with a lofty goal: To raise enough money to get her daughter the surgery which would reverse her deterioration. “We want our happy Yael back,” she writes.
Sara blesses all donors with healthy children of their own. And for those whose kids are able to do such basic tasks as attend school, or be unattended, she has the following powerful words: “Please hold them close and kiss them, because we never dreamed that this would happen.”
Donations to save Yael’s life are being collected here.