For Jeremy Coleman and his wife Pamela Becker, a young Israeli couple with three children, life was turned upside down three years ago when Jeremy was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer. In addition to fear and anxiety, the side-effects of treatment and the constant travel to receive new opinions, there was that ever-present worry about how the illness affected their three young children. Friends and family stepped in to help but even that could not make up for the very real trauma enveloping the family. When the couple’s oldest child mentioned her wish to have a friend who might also have a Dad with cancer it took many months to find a youngster living with a similar situation and that relationship proved to be very helpful. After a year of difficult treatment, it was apparent that Jeremy would not survive his disease, but before he died he and Pamela developed the idea of Jeremy’s Circle, an organization focused on bringing together children living with cancer in their families.
In our meeting today with Pamela we learned how important the play-dates and special fun days are to these kids and their families. At their latest event held during the Pesach season, kids enjoyed the activities of a local ecology center while the parents who attended joined together in a discussion with a psychologist, himself a widower who had brought his own kids.
In addition to these activities, Jeremy’s Circle also sponsors a mentorship program for students on three university campuses. Students, many of whom have grown up with cancer in their own families, are paired with local children and provide a warm and supportive friendship.
We learned from Pamela that there are more than 5000 young families in Israel living with cancer so we know that the importance of the services this young organization provides and the Good People Fund has committed funding for fun days as well as the expenses associated with the mentoring program.
Spending time with Pamela is an affirmation that life goes on and from tragedy good things can come. We are excited about our work with Jeremy’s Circle and hope to continue to help them as they grow.