When I contemplate my time in the Holy Land, there were many things that comforted me. Seeing places that I only had heard of, the feeling of being somewhere that significant things happened, millennia of history to learn from—there was a lot that was good.
But this really got to me. One night at dinner in our guesthouse in Jerusalem, one of the staff members asked us to buy a raffle ticket. They were raising money for the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. And this is the story of why.
The hospital, run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, is the only one in Gaza. They have cancer detection technology there. I remember that they told us 18,000 people are diagnosed every year and that the top three cancers are breast, lung and colon. I might be wrong on the number of cases, but it seemed big. So you get a cancer diagnosis and what do you do?
Well, if you are in Gaza, you can’t leave without a permit. And only 38% of the people who apply to go to the hospital in Jerusalem or Amman, Jordan, get the permits. The other 62%…they just die. I thought of my mother. How afraid we all were when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. But she had options, and she was cured. What would it be like to find out you could not get any treatment?
So, the hospital is teaming up with the MD Anderson Hospital in Houston. They have the money to purchase equipment for cancer treatment. But they need money for all of the details surrounding that. I want to raise money for doctors to come to the US and get trained in the use of the treatment equipment. I can’t change the political situation in Gaza, but I can help someone else’s mother get the treatment she needs to survive cancer.
So I am asking for anyone so moved to send a check to St John’s with cancer treatment in the memo. I will collect money until Lent (Feb 14). The National Cathedral is going to be the conduit for any money collected. If you could help, it would be a blessing. Thank you.