At 2-and-a-half years old, Chana had powers of perception beyond her age. She connected directly with people through her brilliant blue eyes. And she loved life. “Chana loved every day,” says her mother, Shoshana. “She had a playfulness and an emotional depth. Her potential was so apparent.”
Chana was diagnosed with neuroblastoma soon after her first birthday and her family formed close bonds with the team at Hackensack University Medical Center during 18 months of treatment.
“There were so many difficult moments and they were right there with us, shoulder-to-shoulder, with smiles on their faces,” says Chana’s father, Chaim. “It became a relationship that we could not just leave behind.”
The family remains in touch and returns often to visit the nurses and bring dinner. “The entire team treated our entire family. Because the nurses were willing to step into the pain with us, we can laugh with them now. We’ve given ourselves permission to have light moments with them.”
As Orthodox Jews observing Shabbat and holidays, Shoshana and Chaim took turns walking two-and-a-half hours on those days from their home in Englewood to Hackensack University Medical Center.
In honor of their daughter’s memory and in support of other families under similar circumstances, Chana’s family raised funds to dedicate a Shabbat room on the medical center campus.
Motivated by the kindness and compassion that her family received, Shoshana, who already holds a doctorate in educational administration, is pursuing a master’s degree in social work, finding new fulfillment in helping others.