(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
An annual prize giving recognition to doctors and nurses around the country who have shown unusual compassion to patients has been established in memory of Danielle Sonnenfeld, a Brazilian- born woman who was killed in a car accident at the age of 20, just nine months ago.
A high school honors student, she was tragically killed when returning home from volunteering at the pediatric oncology department at Petah Tikva’s Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel, to which she was devoted from her graduation until her last day.
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman has voiced his support for the initiative of the Danielle Foundation, which has established the Danielle Prize – Healing with a Heart. It was set up by her father, Elio Moti Sonnenfeld, to “promote warm and personal relationships in hospitals to improve the medical situation for patients.” Recognizing the importance of infusing the healing profession with a true and unique compassion, love and human kindness, Danielle was planning to study medicine.
This year, the prize will focus on medical professionals in the field of pediatric oncology in hospitals throughout the country, selected according to recommendations made by families of children suffering from cancer. It will be formally awarded to the recipients at a ceremony at the President’s Residence, with the participation of the health minister and other senior government officials, as well as medical and business leaders.
So far, over 650 families have nominated deserving candidates.
Litzman has invited more families of children being treated in oncology departments to recommend special doctors and nurses who have gone above and beyond for patients under their care.
“The Danielle Prize is an opportunity to publicly praise those devoted professionals who perform holy work on a daily basis,” Litzman said on Sunday. “I commend the initiative and call upon all the patients’ families in Israel to participate and show recognition to the medical teams that have accompanied them, and continue to accompany them, along their journey.”
The foundation has already created the Danielle Team, an ambulatory medical team at Schneider that visits homes of patients who are unable to travel to the hospital for their treatments.
The prize committee, which includes chairman Yossi Ackerman, Miki Federmann, Rami Ungar, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yiftah Ron- Tal, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Ben-Hanan, Yehoram Gaon and retired judge Hila Gerstel, will review the submissions this month and select the worthiest nominees.
Rabbi Elimelech Firer, chairman and founder of the Ezra LeMarpeh organization, is an adviser to the committee.