“Dear Prof. Zangen,
To he who took on himself when all others refused;
To go to war against all odds, who didn't sleep nights, who gave us hope, and the spirit and strength to fight;
To the one who continued to fight when everyone around had long ago given up, to he who in the end was victorious.
We will be thankful for the rest of our lives for the greatest gift we received in our lives. We'll never forget the day we met you for the first time. From our point of view you were our last hope.
Everyone unanimously around us told us that this was the end, that it was over, that we should prepare ourselves to say goodbye to our son, Raphi.
Just you! Just you were the only one who wasn't ready to give in to this disease.
You weren't afraid of difficulties. You weren't afraid of taking responsibility. We remember that you once said to us, “Maybe I am taking too much on myself.” Now we can tell you with certainty that, “No. You didn't take on too much! More than that, you gave a chance to live to this amazing child, a child who never stops smiling and laughing, a child with an endless supply of love, goodness, and joy, a child who enjoys every minute of life. That's the life you gave him and us.
With much love,
Sonia, Alex and Raphi (Kushnitzov)”
Sonia and Alex had brought their newborn son to the Hadassah Medical Center’s Prof. David Zangen, head of Pediatric Endocrinology and the Juvenile Diabetes Unit, from a hospital in the center of the country. They knew it was their last chance. Raphi was born with hyperinsulinism, a condition characterized by very high levels of insulin in the blood. Raphi also had hepatoblastoma (a form of liver cancer). Prof. Zangen recognized Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, a rare disorder, where the child experiences various patterns of abnormal growth.
Today, Raphi is a joyful two-year old with ebullient parents.