Wednesday, November 18, 2009
On Wednesday, November 18, 2009, almost 40 Hadassah members attended Hadassah Leading Gifts Pre-Donor Luncheon, which featured a moving presentation by guest speaker Bonnie Ullner, whose daughter's life was saved this past summer by Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. Jessa Perrin, 16, began her summer in Israel on a Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Partnership 2000 trip to Israel and Poland, sponsored by the Jewish Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, when she suddenly became ill. Her condition deteriorated rapidly and she was taken to a nearby hospital. That same night, Jessa was transferred by ambulance to Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Thanks to the quick-thinking doctors and staff at Hadassah Hospital, a breath test designed at Hadassah Hospital determined that Jessa had Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic disorder that is found in people of Jewish descent, which prevents the body from getting rid of extra copper. Copper builds up in the liver, brain, eyes, and other organs, and over time, high copper levels cause life-threatening organ damage.
A battery of tests showed that Jessa was in real danger unless she underwent a liver transplant. To stabilize her, Jessa’s doctors performed a plasmapheresis, a procedure that separates blood cells from plasma and allows the patient’s plasma to be replaced. The Hadassah doctor, nurse, and anesthesiologist traveled with her on the El Al flight back to New York. She was taken by ambulance to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where she had a successful liver transplant.
Barbara Miller, the Director of Israel Initiatives at the Cincinnati Jewish Federation, shared how close communication with her and the Israel Experience camp staff, Hadassah Hospital, and the Ullner family worked together to save this young life. She read a letter written by Debbie Karmel, one of two chaperones from Cincinnati, who accompanied Jessa to the hospital and gave tremendous support and courage to the Ullner family and the other young people on the trip. Jerry Lindahl, the other Cincinnati chaperone, told how he rode with Jessa for over two hours in the ambulance to Hadassah Hospital and stayed with her until her uncle arrived.
Tobe Snow, Cincinnati Chapter President, presented the speakers with Hadassah Certificates, and Carol Ann Schwartz, Hadassah Central States Region President, spoke about an opportunity to buy personalized, colorful Road Tiles to benefit Hadassah, which will permanently decorate the walls of Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus, and Hadassah College Jerusalem.
Leading Gifts Pre-Donor Luncheon was open to Hadassah members who pledge $360 or more to Hadassah Donor campaign. Ghita Sarembock is this year's Donor Chair. All contributions are welcome and support the life-saving work of Hadassah. Hadassah Donor Luncheon, the fund-raising event of the year, will take place on Wednesday, April 14, 2010. Contact the Hadassah Office at (513) 821-6157 for more information.
Photography by Gayna Bassin