For several years, 25 year old Rivka M.’s most worrying concern was about children. She and her husband Natan lived alone in their Beitar home, praying and hoping that they would soon receive the blessing of children in their lives. They finally did, with the arrival of a son after a three year stint that included a high risk pregnancy and bed rest. They were blessed once again (more easily this time) with another son a short time later.
Rivka and Natan happily went about their lives, taking care of their young children while Natan learned and Rivka worked in the local grocery store. When her headaches began, she didn’t think much of them in the beginning, taking a pill or two for relief and brushing them off. It was when they became persistent and extended in length, that she began to worry.
After having initial tests done, Rivka and Natan were shocked when upon receiving the results, the doctor immediately sent her for a CT. Rivka says those results “turned my life upside down”.
The diagnosis was terrifying-Rivka had a brain tumor. The young couple was devastated and Rivka was beside herself with worry. “How could this be happening? How can I lose my life? What will become of my husband? What about my babies?” She would need to undergo surgery within just a few weeks.
Until then, despite the tragic diagnosis Rivka tried to go on with her day to day life, going to work and taking care of her children. As a driven, self reliant person she didn’t want her diagnosis to keep her down and she didn’t want to have to rely on others for help. Once her surgery was completed though, she was unable to work or care for her children, requiring Natan to leave his studies.
The resulting loss of incomes made a terrible impact on the young family. Costs of rent, unpaid bills, tests, groceries, diapers….the debt started to grow and only got bigger. Rivka and Natan were left with no choice but to take out costly loans to try and cover their expenses. Their parents are unable to help them financially as they struggle, too.
Doctors won’t be able to determine her prognosis until they run more tests in about two months. In the meantime this sweet, soft spoken couple with incredible emunah has moved their family from a furnished apartment to an unfurnished one on a lower level. Natan chose it due to its easier access for Rivka, and for the big window in one of the rooms. He wanted her to be able to recuperate in a nicer environment-one that has a lot of light and a pretty view.
Rivka’s recovery is slow and there is so much stress on this young couple’s shoulders. As if health concerns were not enough, the financial strain is unbearable. The bank has frozen their account. Their electric bills go unpaid. There is no food in the home. When we met and spoke with Natan, he happened to mention that in their new apartment he and Rivka had nowhere to hang their clothes and were sleeping on the floor, on children’s mattresses. We couldn’t believe what we heard: How could someone trying to recuperate from brain surgery (who can barely walk) be sleeping on a child’s mattress on the floor?
Rivka and Natan hope that somehow they will make it through this crushing medical and financial situation. Our responsibility is to keep this positive, hard working couple afloat during this difficult time, enabling them to again become the people they once were. By raising $10,000 we can buy Rivka and Natan some basic furniture (including proper beds for them to sleep on), cover some of their most outstanding, urgent bills, and help them get through the next few months without them living under the threat of their lights being shut off.
Please say a tefilla for Rivka bat Shoshana & donate to Milka’s fund on her and her family’s behalf. Even if we can’t alleviate their health concerns, we can at least alleviate some of their financial ones.