News and Events

Celebrating the Lives of Young Cancer Survivors

Publication Date: 12/24/2020 10:30 AM

Despite the pandemic, Haifa is celebrating the annual Holiday of Holidays – honoring religious celebrations that fall in December. In conjunction with these celebrations, Rambam Health Care Campus recently hosted the Kites of Hope event for survivors of pediatric cancer, who got to make their own kites and decorate them with messages of hope.

Pictured: Nofar Shaham, Senior Coordinator from Larger Than Life; Yana Diamond, Nurse Transplant Coordinator; and Sarah and Jazel’s family. Top Right Inset: Sisters Sarah and Jazel with Dr. Roni Gefen.

Photography: Rambam HCCPhotography: Rambam HCC

“Larger Than Life” (an association that supports families of children with cancer) has initiated an exciting event—Kites of Hope—in collaboration with Rambam Health Care Campus, in order to mark Hanukkah and Christmas, and to celebrate the lives of young cancer survivors.

Kites of Hope reflects an annual collaboration in recent years between “Larger Than Life” and the Joan & Sanford Weil Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology in Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital. The association equips and decorates the bone marrow transplant rooms with toys and gifts that are personally customized for each patient.

Four children who underwent bone marrow transplantations in the Division during the past year participated in the event. Together with their family members who had also donated bone marrow, they represented survivors of pediatric cancer from different religions.

From a Muslim background, sisters Sarah and Jazel (ages 8 and 9, respectively) were diagnosed at the same time with a serious, life-threatening illness when Jazel was 3 years old and Sarah was only one-and-a-half years old. Recently they both underwent bone marrow transplantations — Jazel last August and Sarah in October. Their mother and baby brother were the bone marrow donors.

Representing the many Christians in Haifa, was Vladislav, five years old, the son of a single mother. Vladislav was diagnosed about a year-and-a-half ago with neuroblastoma. He finished his treatments several months ago and is feeling well. His mother donated the bone marrow for her son’s treatment.

Nahar (Jewish) is two-and-a-half years old. Nahar was diagnosed at the age of eight months with a serious, life-threatening illness that required hospitalization in an isolation room for nine consecutive months. In February 2020, he underwent a bone marrow transplant that saved his life.