|A Friday Story|
At a certain age or stage in life, I believe we all consider the generations that will follow us – our children and grandchildren and others of their age; what we can teach them and give them; what they in turn will pass on to their children and grandchildren and what they will contribute to the world.
I am especially reminded of this on Pesach when we are told – not once but twice – to relate the story of the Exodus to the generations that will follow so that its lessons will not be lost.
We pass on our beliefs and values by what we say and what we do. Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum believe it is their responsibility "to leave this world a better place than when we came into it." And they have done so in countless way – in the Baltimore community, in Maryland and here in Israel – at Hadassah.
This week, they dedicated the Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Breast Center at Hadassah-Ein Kerem – the latest example of how they act on their beliefs. Marlene and Stewart are among the Hadassah Medical Organization's most dedicated donors, giving generously of their time, energy and resources on both sides of the ocean, to make sure that Hadassah, too, is a better place. We have often turned to them for advice and support and they have always been forthcoming – but the creation of The Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Breast Center was their initiative.
"This is what I would like to do," Marlene said during a presentation on advances in breast cancer diagnosis at last year's Hadassah National Convention. Twenty years ago, Marlene was diagnosed with Stage Two Breast Cancer, underwent intensive treatment and resumed her full and active life. Seven years ago, the breast cancer returned with a vengeance – again she was treated and again she recovered, thanks to new drugs discovered at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.
When she stood before us on Tuesday and told her story, her message was clear. She wanted to make sure that Israeli women who experienced what she did would do so in the best possible way – in a warm and caring environment with compassionate professionals, assisted by the most advanced diagnostic and treatment technology. She wanted them to enter a gracious, welcoming and private space that would envelope them with comfort and consideration as they moved from room to room. She envisioned an atmosphere that would nurture and support them as they dealt with the tests and treatment plans – and with all the changes in their lives. The architect Eli Ilan designed The Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Breast Center to fulfill her vision.
Marlene's portrait graces the entrance of the new Center, her warm eyes and soft smile telling the women in the waiting room that they are not alone, that they too will be able to cope. The portrait was painted just a few weeks after she finished her last round of treatment almost two decades ago. Even after her second battle with cancer, she looks as vibrant today as she did then. Her eyes still convey the same commitment. The Center that bears her name is a tangible expression of her concern for other women and her love for Hadassah.
"We are all inspired by you, by the way you do everything with a full heart," said Past National President Marlene Post at the dedication. "You are a woman who never sees the dark side of life, only what can be."
Looking to what the future holds, the Greenebaum's sponsored a half-day seminar on breast cancer research before the dedication. They brought with them some of the Baltimore area's leading cancer experts to share their knowledge with their Israeli colleagues. Joining members of Hadassah's multidisciplinary breast cancer team to present the latest information in the field were, from left: Dr. Tamar Sella, Director of the Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Breast Center; Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, Director General, Hadassah University Medical Center; Dr. Rachel Brim, Director of Breast Imaging at George Washington University Medical Center; Prof. Tamar Peretz, Director of Hadassah's Sharett Institute of Oncology; Stewart and Marlene Greenebaum; Dr. Angela Brodie, Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Maryland's Greenebaum Cancer Center; and Dr. Kevin Cullen, Director of the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland.
Dr. Sella described a novel diagnostic procedure that is currently being tested at Hadassah and other medical centers throughout Israel. Called RUTH, it is an innovative imaging device for breast cancer detection based on Multidimensional Infra Red Analysis. Created by an Israeli company, its preliminary clinical trials show that it is highly effective in detecting breast cancer at an early stage. The fast, painless and safe procedure produces quick results, saving women hours and days of uncertainty. The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner the treatment – and the better chances of survival.
If the results of this year's international clinical study are successful, RUTH will join the two advanced mammography machines and the two state-of-the-art ultrasound machines in the arsenal of diagnostic weapons at Hadassah's new Greenebaum Breast Center.
Prof. Tamar Peretz, Head of Hadassah's Sharett Institute of Oncology, repeated the questions women most often ask when they are newly diagnosed with breast cancer: Why me? What is the best therapy? How will I cope? And the most poignant, "how can I ensure that my daughter won't be a breast cancer victim?"
Researchers from Hadassah's Department of Human Genetics, part of the Center's multidisciplinary team, will be able to explain "Why me?" The Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Breast Center will prescribe the best therapy – and Marlene Greenebaum herself is the best example of how to cope and how to help those who suddenly must cope.
The next generation is very much on our minds when we ask: "What about our daughters?" We at Hadassah share Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum's determination that this dreadful disease will not be part of our legacy. "My happiest day will be when they find a cure for breast cancer and this Center will no longer be needed," Marlene said.
Sitting at the Seder table, this dedication will become part of my ritual of remembering those who came before me and those who will follow. As I think about my daughter and granddaughter, sons and grandsons, it will serve as an example of how people's beliefs impel them to act, just as our ancestors did many thousands of years ago. It will remind me of the extraordinary strength of women, the women of Hadassah, of this woman from Baltimore who serves as an inspiration – and we who accompany them on their journey to leave the world a better place.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Pesach Sameach. May this Pesach be filled with happiness and health – now and for generations to come.
Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef
Hadassah Medical Organization