The Canadian Jeiwsh News

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

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Writing with my heart on my sleeve

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Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve scribbled in notebooks, writing about my day, my thoughts, my feelings. I’m not quite sure where my writing came from, or who gave me my first journal, but somehow, something clicked in me. Putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboards, always felt right.

A few years ago, my mom asked me, “When you were a kid, what were you always writing about?” I’m fortunate. I grew up in a household, where no locks were needed on diaries. My parents had a great respect for my sister’s and my privacy. Truth is, most of my writings was about boys, travel and fun.  

Writing, much like everything else, has ups and downs, moments of flow and ones of frustration. Somehow I can’t seem to escape writing. It is almost as if writing has chosen me, not that I chose to write.

After years of writing network news, often putting sad words into anchors’ mouths to read to you, I needed a change. I created my own brand of journalism, focusing on fun and positive stories.

Alas, not every day is filled with fun and happy times, as much as I try to incorporate it into my world, and ultimately report back to you, my readers. I often try to pull positive stories out of negative ones, reaching into the darkness and grasping at the light. It’s frustrating; sometimes life’s stories makes me want to throw dishes at a brick wall.

Over the last six months, two lovely wonderful lives have been cut short: one of my friends, Karen Fraley, and just today I learned my dear cousin, Dana Haran, passed away.

My friend Karen, only 40 years old, died of a disease with no cure called scleroderma. It’s a rare and horrible disease in which the immune system attacks itself. She left behind three young children, all under the age of six, and a wonderful husband who adored her.

In my tears, I comfort myself, knowing she was surrounded by love from family and friends, and that she travelled the world, had great adventures and, against all odds, was able to have three beautiful children. When I get sad, I often hear her laugh and see her smile in my imagination.

After only mere months of illness, my cousin Dana, who was in her early 50s, passed away from lung cancer. I’ve never met such a go-getter, someone so filled with life. The irony of her story was she worked as a fundraiser for Assaf Harofeh, a government hospital in Israel dedicated to saving lives.

One day she took me on a tour of the hospital and showed me all the top-of-the-line equipment. It was her hard work and persistence in raising funds for life-saving equipment that saved newborn preemies in the neonatal unit with. The equipment changed the course of countless lives in Israel.

We spent a fun day together, and on the drive home, she saw a young Israeli girl standing in the hot sun handing flyers to people in passing cars. She immediately asked the girl where her hat was. When the girl shrugged and said she did not have one, Dana reached into the back of her car and pulled out a baseball hat and a bottle of water and told the young girl to always take care to protect herself.

I watched in amazement and couldn’t stop laughing. Dana was a little bit of everyone’s mother, not only to her two children who served in the Israeli army but also to the young girl on the street and to those she saved with her never-ending work of raising funds for the hospital.

When I got the news today, I asked why. Why another amazing person who only made the planet a better place had to suffer and leave the world so early. Nothing makes much sense. But it left me thinking how precious life is, and how it’s so important to try to make the most of every day, every minute, and especially times spent with people who you love.

I’m shellshocked, but as always, sadness makes me wonder, what can I do? Writing found me, but I turn to you, to help shine some light on the darkness and try to save other people’s lives.

So, please do something. Make a donation to help find a cure for any disease close to your heart, whether it is diabetes or scleroderma, or to your local hospital or a hospital in Israel. One person at a time, one dollar at a time, together maybe we can prevent suffering and the pain that afflicts people all over the planet.



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