Rain begins to pound on the roof of the Egged bus as it winds up the hill toward the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. Masked travellers young and old sit in their seats and stare out the window, as the streets gutters fill with water. Suddenly, a gasp and a commotion near the back of the bus. A young woman with a brown sheitel has fainted. Another passenger, a nurse from the hospital, recognizes her from the oncology ward. She has cancer. She must be on her way to her chemo.
This isn’t the first time Chana has fainted on the bus. Her treatments make her weak and dizzy. In the bustling city of Yerushalayim, however, you have to have a significant income to afford a car. And Chana hasn’t been able to work much since her diagnosis. And so she mounts the bus each week, experiencing uncontrollable nausea at the severe dips and turns. She leaves her baby with a sitter for the whole day, as it takes several hours to wait for the bus, get there, wait for her treatments, wait for the bus back, and then walk home from her stop. It almost seems cruel to put a young, cancer-ridden mom through this, but what other choice does she have?
Stories like these make it all the more clear why Darchei Miriam provides cancer patients with rides to and from the hospital. A simple car ride, a normal occurrence in America but a luxury in Chana’s life, means she will be able to rest on her way home from chemo. Means she will have more time to hold her young baby when she gets home.
Money is being raised to help Chana, a single mom with 6 kids, get the help she needs. From treatments, to shabbos meals, to rides – the need is dire.
Rav Chaim Kanievsky has also blessed all those who donate to Darchei Miriam that they should merit to, measure for measure, have health themselves.
As the winter descends upon us and the rain begins to fall, it is difficult not to think of Chana, shivering under her coat, waiting for the bus. Readers can click here to offer her a ride.