Like a Second Mother, She Feels His Pain
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Jon Burg
Jon Burg is with Champions Oncology, a personalized oncology solutions company. Just because someone is diagnosed with cancer, doesn’t mean that there isn’t hope. Patients like Dovid find hope by growing their tumors outside of their bodies with Champions TumorGraftsTM. By testing treatment options on their personalized TumorGrafts, patients can identify the treatment that should be the most effective on their individual tumor.
Miriam Katz is an Aunt with a capital A and a Heroine with a capital H. I had the privilege of meeting Miriam as she is managing all aspects of her nephew’s cancer care, and they have turned to Champions Oncology (my employer) for help identifying their best cancer treatment options. I draw tremendous inspiration from Miriam and, with her permission, am sharing her story with you as well.
Miriam is an energetic aunt and mother with a fantastically positive outlook on life. She was raised on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and together with her siblings, raised their children in that diverse and thriving neighborhood. Miriam’s nieces and nephews felt at home in her house, as if it were their own. Miriam is by her nature a giving person, serving in the local volunteer ambulance corp. and managing a “bikkur cholim” – a neighborhood Jewish group that visits, supports, and assists the sickly throughout their journey.
Fifteen months ago, Miriam’s nephew, Dovid, was studying abroad when he developed a chronic cough. When the local doctors raised a red flag, Miriam started working her network. Twelve hours later, Dovid was on a flight home. Upon arriving in New York, Miriam took him straight to a leading pulmonologist for a thorough workup. This began their battle with cancer.
As a woman of profound faith, Miriam believes in the power of prayer, the power of love, and the drive to do everything possible to help her nephew. Whether it’s flying Dovid to Indiana for surgery, arranging his ongoing care, transporting him to-and-from chemo, or being sure that he spends his summer in the most comforting and restful atmosphere possible, Miriam is an aunt who lives to give to her family.
As Miriam said:
“An aunt is like a second mother. My mother instilled in me the love to give, and what better place to give than to my children? My nieces and nephews are my children. They are part of my family; when they are celebrating, I am there. But when they are in pain, I feel it as if my own children are in pain.
“It is interesting that often a sick adolescent cannot tolerate seeing his mother’s pain and needs to turn to someone else, a person who also loves him but is emotionally one step removed. My nephew and I are very close. He knows that I will leave no stone unturned to find his cure. We talk, we play, we pray. He and his “Tante (aunt) Miriam” are in this fight together.
“We pray that it be the will of God that Dovid will be in remission forever. I can’t wait to dance at his wedding.”
Photo: Courtesy of Miriam Katz
Published: July 20, 2012