LEGO-MAN, MAOR COHEN, TELLS HIS STORY:
Three years ago, when I came to Ezer Mizion’s Oranit Cancer Support Center, they explained to me that I would be working with children who have cancer and with children whose parents have cancer. All I came for was to donate some LEGO but the angels at Ezer Mizion made me see how much more I could do. I was a little frightened at the thought. After all, the word ‘cancer’ is unmentionable and I’d be diving right in.
But I know what it means to be a child with a sick parent.
Ever since I was 5 years old, my father, may he live and be well, has been a heart patient. For almost thirty years, he has been fighting a variety of illnesses – on chagim, Shabbat, and ordinary weekdays. I never had the security of knowing that just because I saw my father at breakfast would he be there at supper.
But he did his absolute best, and even more, to see to it that I had a good childhood. Even at the peak of his illness, it was important to him to be a loving, relevant, and active father.
My mother fought like a lioness to make sure that I, her youngest, would not feel deprived. But the hospital visits and constant, pervasive fear did their part and without question, had an effect on me. Through the years, Abba got better and then was sick again, and that cycle kept repeating itself. As a family, we learned to live with this reality.
The real burden fell on my mother, who would not give up. Her concern that all of us would continue to live our lives in an emotionally healthy manner became her life mission. Thank G-d, my father continues onward. There are better days and there are worse.
The LEGO Club meets frequently. When I am at the LEGO club with children whose parents are sick, I melt with compassion. I remember myself in their shoes – the fears, the concerns, the feeling that the most prominent figure in your life is fighting for his life…and may lose the battle. It isn’t easy. Each time I relate to a child whose parent died, the challenge intensifies, and with it, the commitment that as long as a child is in my LEGO club, I will make sure he gets what this club was established for – a chance to hold on to the security of normal world of childhood.
Special events are held throughout the year. Before Rosh Hashona, we held a “LEGO in Honey” event at Oranit – a LEGO party for children whose parent has cancer. About thirty families stepped out of their medical nightmare for the moment, sat around tables heaped with LEGO, and built a variegated display of creations. Three lucky winners left with huge LEGO sets and everyone got a standard family LEGO set as a gift.
All this was done thanks to you – you, who contributed money and became a partner with us at Ezer Mizion’s Donald Berman Rehabilitation Center, making this moving event possible.
During the party, I stood at the side for a moment and returned in my mind to those days when Ima and I would come home from the hospital after visiting Abba. I would go into my room, sit on the floor, open the LEGO drawer, and immerse myself in my own world, building whimsical creations and dreaming of the days when everything would be okay.
Thank you for enabling me to walk down this path each time anew, reliving my own childhood feelings, empathizing with the kids around me and giving, giving , giving enabling them to better cope with the monster named Cancer that has taken over their lives.
For further info: www.ezermizion.org