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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Hillside—The Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society (RCCS) was greeted again this year by a capacity crowd, graciously hosted by Sarah and Alex Krause in Hillside. Although the Krauses have not needed the services of RCCS, Alex Krause spoke about his recent personal bout with cancer, and how it scrambled his mind and the family’s life as they confronted the numerous agonizing decisions and treatment. He lauded RCCS for their amazing work, observing sagaciously that “time flows through all lives equally,” empathizing with those who do not have the available resources for treatment that he had. Krause implored upon the group to support RCCS generously.

Rabbi Aron Steier, regional director of RCCS, presented an abridged yet staggering annual report in an effort to inform those in attendance of the enormity of the support and services RCCS provides to families. In 2015 alone, RCCS serviced 1648 patients with over $28 million dollars paid out through RCCS-funded insurance. Steier explained that when someone’s insurance does not cover their care, RCCS finds a policy that will cover it and pays the premiums. Last year alone, 2,696 such premiums were paid. When an insurance company denies a claim, RCCS experts advocate to reverse the denial based on policy provisions. Over $2 million in benefits were paid out last year as a result of this advocacy. RCCS also subsidizes the cost of treatment when needed, reporting over $342,000 paid in 2015, including co-pays and deductibles. RCCS also assists in locating the very best medical professionals and treatment available for people’s unique situations, and goes so far as to change and fund an alternative insurance coverage if necessary. It also assists with rent and mortgage, day school tuition and other family expenses. The goal is to unburden families and facilitate, to the extent possible, “normalcy” in their daily routines.

Rabbi Dr. Elimelech Goldberg, MD, keynote speaker, presented a truly inspirational video of his special program, “Kids Kicking Cancer.” Goldberg is a black belt in karate, and uses his expertise to teach children to train for, and reclaim their “Power, Peace and Purpose” in the setting of karate classes. One of his techniques is the “Breath Brake,” documented in medical journals as a functional pain reduction technique. He teaches the children to “respond to everything with greatness,” as opposed to the often misleading concept that, “everything is going to be great.” Rabbi Dr. Goldberg is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Wayne State School of Medicine, the director of the Kids Kicking Cancer Foundation, and a frequent consultant to RCCS. The foundation has active programs in numerous states across the country and has helped countless children deal with, and heal from, their illness, as well as providing comfort for those who are ultimately unable to recover.

Steier implored the group to get involved in the many mitzvot in which RCCS participates—rofeh cholim, ahavas achim (easing the burden of your friend) and giving tzedakah, noting that no amount is too small, and that the benefits stretch to Israel.

Rabbi Jonathan Schwartz spoke briefly, and highlighted the additional mitzvah of V’ahavata L’Rayecha Kamocha in supporting the important work of RCCS.

The RCCS Board of Directors was represented by Shia Muller, who attested that the RCCS has passed, with flying colors, every professional audit of their funding and use of those funds. In a true display of achdut and unity, numerous local families from Hillside and Elizabeth, as well as all of the local shuls, shared in sponsoring the event. Many of the speakers acknowledged with great appreciation the seemingly boundless efforts of Emuna Sohn, and a team of amazing volunteers, in organizing and coordinating the program.

To contribute or learn more about the amazing work of Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society, visit their website at www.rofehcholim.org.