It was Rosh HaShana, and the seven Eichler children were dressed in their finest clothes, ready to go to shul to hear the shofar. As they prepared to leave their apartment, however, 10-year-old Tovi began to scream out in pain. Her parents were perplexed – nothing seemed to have happened. They rushed her to the emergency room and that’s when they received the diagnosis that would change their lives irrevocably.
Tovi has complex regional pain syndrome, or “CRPS.” CRPS is a disease which affects her central nervous system and causes her to be in excruciating pain at all times, with no relief. Doctors describe the pain level as akin to giving birth without medication. This is a heavy load for a young girl to carry.
In the year that has since passed, Tovi’s condition has worsened. The pain has now spread to her stomach, which renders her unable to eat. She has experienced dramatic weight loss, and is now confined to a wheelchair.
Tovi’s parents went to famed medical askan Rabbi Firer, hoping for answers. Firer recommended that they leave Israel immediately to seek treatment options abroad. As the shadow of the Coronavirus began its global spread, however, the Eicher family was stuck in Israel. The little girl suffered in pain, with no escape.
Now that restrictions have loosened, the Eichlers are hoping to fly out of their home country, to save their daughter. Such a trip, however, is not only limited by the pandemic. After a year of hospital visits and specialist appointments for their daughter, they are in tremendous debt. They also have 6 other children. The cost of flying their family out of Israel, having a place to live and affording food & utilities, together with the astronomical costs of Tovi’s treatments, are far, far beyond their capabilities. If they are going to give her relief from her pain, they will need to rely on the help of strangers.
The Eichlers’ crowdfunding campaign includes moving video footage of the family. Tovi looks at the camera shyly. Her light brown hair is pulled into a ponytail, and her large brown eyes sparkle with a slight smile. “I want everyone to be healthy,” she says to the camera.
This is a blessing we can all hope for during these turbulent times.
Those who are able to help Tovi can do so here for a limited time.