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"In hospital and chemotherapy I received from others, now I'm on the giving side" Israel today


From her childhood, Gali Neuberg (14) has been dealing with malignant tumors in her head, but she is determined to spread well. She is now responsible for distributing food baskets for the "Sweet Shabbat" organization:

For most teenagers, the Arena Mall in Herzliya is a place for entertainment and shopping.

For Gali Neuberg he is much more than that.

Every Thursday she shows up at it, quickly passes the colorful storefronts and unlocks the black door lock.

In the depths of the dim corridor lies her kingdom.

Challahs wrapped in rustling plastic, a tall pile of cartons of the chef's dishes, crates laden with grapefruit and a long, long white table that becomes the packaging strip.

Only 14 years old, and already the principal.

The one who knows how to activate the volunteers and distribute the groceries in the baskets of the "Sweet Shabbat" association.

She calmly directs the volunteers who hug her warmly or give her loving fun.

Courtesy answers everyone's questions, even to those a few decades older than her.

"Tomorrow, as every Friday, the regular volunteers will arrive and distribute the 800 baskets we are now packing to Holocaust survivors in the central and lowland area. The goal is to establish regular contact and alleviate the loneliness of the survivors," she explains.

"I've been volunteering here for a year and a half. For me, it's a must. It's what makes me the weekend and makes me feel good."

Gali's constant smile does not betray the time bomb ticking in her head.

At age seven, Blue was diagnosed with cancer.

"Thanks to my mother's alertness the discovery was at an early stage. She argued with the doctors who said it was nothing," she says.

What attracted her mother's response, Hila, were early signs of puberty in the girl.

"I realized something was wrong and took her to a family doctor," Hila recalls.

"The doctor sent me to endocrinology (hormone research), to Prof. Dalit Modan, who referred us for tests. On brain MRI, two tumors were found in the brain stem of the waves, which sit on the hormone glands, very close to the optic nerve. Early detection is critical."

Gali was hospitalized at the Children's Hospital in Tel Hashomer, in order to diagnose the type of tumor.

The medical staff understood that the exact diagnosis would only be achieved with the help of a biopsy.

Gali underwent complex brain surgery that lasted 8 hours, at the end of which it was diagnosed that the tumors were of the glioma type.

"It is impossible to remove the tumors themselves, because of their deep position in the brain," the mother explains.

"The biopsy had to be entered very carefully, because any incorrect movement could leave damage. We saw in the ward children who were injured in movement, speech or vision following such surgery."

When Gali woke up from the surgery, one of her eyes remained closed for a month and a half, until she was reopened.

Although one pupil remained larger than the other, "her amazing mind was able to overcome it and adapted a way to function normally," Hila smiles.

For a year and a half, Gali was under close medical supervision and endless tests.

"It was a little hard to learn during that time, when you were repeatedly visited in a hospital," says Gali, as she drags boxes from the carts to the table.

"At school they did not quite understand what was happening to me, and I did not understand either.

"They explained to me that I had a brain tumor, but I did not fully understand that it was cancer. It was only when I started chemotherapy in the fifth grade that I understood. There was a moment when there was a kind of boom, and then suddenly it was completely clear. "Cancer patients, and only then did I really understand. It was not easy. I went into a kind of depression."

Hila: "I do not remember that we did not use the word 'cancer'. The doctors told Gali everything, and she also wanted to know everything. She did not let me speak English with the doctors. She also had excellent questions. When the tumors started to grow more, the doctors said there was no choice but to Start chemotherapy.

"The doctor, Dr. Michal Yalon, explained to Gali that the goal of the treatment is to attack the tumors and stop their growth.

So Gali asked, and I will not forget this day: 'But if we attack the tumors, will they not attack me back?'.

The doctor wrote down the question and said she would use it at medical conferences, to illustrate how a child treats a tumor as a living creature. "

According to the plan, Gali was supposed to undergo chemotherapy once a week for 18 months, but after a year the treatments were stopped, after a drama that seemed to have been taken from a fantasy film.

Following her complaint of pain, Gali was sent for a head CT scan.

But the technician was confused, and performed a chest CT.

When the mistake was discovered, Gali burst into tears.

She had no strength for another test and another stab.

After she calmed down, the correct test was performed.

"On the way back home, we get a phone call to return to the hospital immediately, because a chest X-ray shows a blood clot that is on its way to the heart," Hila describes.

"We are not a house where people believe in God or in providence, but this technician's mistake was probably from above. The chemotherapy. "

• • •

The treatment that was stopped before its end did not reduce the tumors, but managed to stop their growth.

Since then, Gali has continued to be closely monitored.

The tumors can suddenly reappear, God forbid damage the optic nerves and other functions, or worse - endanger her life.

But Gali is firmly holding on to the optimistic scenario: by the time she reaches the age where brain growth stops, around her 20th birthday, the tumors are likely to age until they become almost harmless scars.

"I know I will not die from this cancer," she says emphatically.

Until recovery she does not let the uninvited guests in her head run her life.

With a medical clown during a period of hospitalization.

"It was not easy, I got into a kind of depression,"

One evening she was watching on TV at home an article about a Holocaust survivor who had nothing to eat.

"It hurt me to see that. Dad's family are Holocaust survivors. It was early in the corona and I was already really bored, so I told Mom I wanted to volunteer for Holocaust survivors.

"We did not so much know where, so Mom talked to the deputy mayor, and she told us about the activities of 'Sweet Saturday.' "Challah and candles too. I wrapped the candles at home and had a lot of fun, so I started coming regularly."

Gali's management skills were discovered by the association's activists on one of the occasions when some of the food was late in arriving, and the volunteers were left idle.

Gali started operating them with candle wrappers and other tasks required until the food delivery arrived.

Gradually, more and more responsibilities were entrusted to her, until she became the local sheriff.

Among other things, she stands confidently in front of groups of soldiers who come to volunteer from time to time, explaining to them the goals of the association, and the tasks to be performed.

The "Sweet Shabbat" association was founded by three women who stubbornly evade the spotlight, and they run it and donate most of the funding to its activities.

They managed to create a collaboration with "Leket Israel", an organization that deals with food rescue, which donates fruits and vegetables and also helps find volunteers.

The three are also members of the Sachi organization (a unique charity patrol) in Jerusalem, which operates youth food distribution to the needy, and has taken on the task of distributing 200 baskets of "Sweet Shabbat" in Jerusalem.

Every week, about 1,000 baskets are distributed throughout the country.

The association also runs an application developed voluntarily by Noam Henig.

Through it, every volunteer on Friday receives the address to which the shipment is intended.

In the app he reports when he handed it over.

If the senior needs something, such as heating or medical care, the volunteer reports it in real time in the app.

Gali participates not only in the packaging on Thursdays, but also in the distribution of the baskets themselves.

Every Friday she distributes two baskets to seniors who live near her home.

"Sometimes they are in the mood to talk, sometimes not, but it always does them good on the heart that someone they already know comes to visit them and is interested in their well-being. It also makes me feel very good to be on the other side, the giver. "Joining a lot of associations for the benefit of children with cancer, in an attempt to give them some comfort in what they are going through," Gali describes in her rich language.

"This includes meetings with celebrities and various events, as well as flights for trips abroad.

I flew with the Reach Out Association to California, to a very beautiful dream village, and with the Rechashi Lev Association we flew to Italy and Austria.

Everything I received gave me the motivation and inspiration to volunteer on my own.

I feel that for me, giving to others now is a must. "

Gali is the youngest daughter in the Neuberg family.

Her two parents, Hila (48) and Alon (47), are lawyers.

She has two sisters: Amit (20), a defender in the Iron Dome, and Rotem (16), a student at the Rimon School in Herzliya.

Gali is a student at Smadar Middle School.

Together with Ketam, their beautiful dog, the family lives in a spacious villa in Herzliya.

Hila: "My mother is a woman who has been engaged in giving all her life, but we have sunk into a material world of lawyers, who always suspect that behind every giving there is some interest. Gali's disease has brought us into an amazing world we never knew before, a world of good people What they want is to give in order to give, to put a smile on their face, and for the good feeling it does.

"Gali's choice to go to the giving side is amazing to me. Beyond the good she does to others, it also does her good personally, much more successful than all the psychologists and therapists we have run around trying to help her cope with the stress and mental difficulties the disease floods. Instead of being depressed and weak, Gali now "Strong and happy. You need to see what in the school corridor she is called 'the principal'."

Gali: "In previous years, especially around the treatments, I felt like I was in another world. I lost a lot of study material in school, and mostly I felt distant from friends. While they enjoyed life, I fought for my life. But today I feel part. There are seven boys from my class who also started They come to pack groceries.They do it as part of a personal commitment, but I think they really enjoy it here.

"Friends have asked me several times, 'What, do you really come every week?'

For me, because of what I went through, it's clear that it is. I can not help but come. If I do not come - I have a pang of conscience. "With other students, it's different, and I can understand that, they did not experience what I went through."

In addition to regular volunteering, Gali also occasionally participates in food packaging in Jerusalem.

In preparation for holidays and vacations, Nurit, one of the three founders of Shabbat Matuka, travels from Herzliya to the Gilo neighborhood in the capital.

There's a great atmosphere there, and it's always a lot of fun.

"We go out at five in the afternoon and come back at two at night. It gives me a lot of energy and strength, and as my mother says, it turns out that it is much better than psychologists. By the way, there are many more volunteers in Jerusalem. - That will change. " 

• • •

In parallel with the extensive volunteer activity, Gali commissioned to reduce its academic gaps.

"This year I decided to jump into the water and took the test for the first time together with the whole class. It's something that has not happened to me since third grade. It was important for me to feel healthy and be like everyone else. It was a test in history and I got 85."

The beautiful score was achieved despite the memory difficulties left by the chemotherapy treatments.

For sure, when it comes to volunteering - her memory is excellent.

As I lost my way through the maze of the canyon and forgot where the vehicle was left, Gali remembered well and saved me from useless wanderings.

What is your dream, I ask the sweet girl, sure her immediate answer will be "to be healthy".

But Gali likes to surprise.

"My dream is to reach a significant position in the army. I know that in the IDF I can only serve as a volunteer, but I met the head of the volunteer branch, and he explained to me that volunteers can reach very interesting and challenging positions in the army.

I do not want 8200, because that is where everyone goes today, and there are also smarter than me.

I want to surprise with something else.

After the army I think I would like to do something in the style I do here.

To manage, to organize. "

At four in the afternoon the hundreds of white baskets are arranged for glory.

Gali wipes beads of sweat and looks at them happily.

Outside the mall the world is painted in pink and orange.

An evening breeze sways the yachts and boats dotting the blue of the marina.

Some people are given ventilation and joy by the sea.

For Gali, dark corridors in the mall are the pinnacle of happiness.

Were we wrong?


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Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2022-01-14

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