(photo credit: Channel 2)
For the past five months, two-year-old Aya Aiid Abo-Mois has been coming to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for dialysis. Her daily morning journey begins in Mughayir, a small village outside Jenin.
Every morning, Aya and her mother, Sahir, wait for a driver of the Derech Hachlama (Way to Recovery), an Israeli volunteer-run organization that transports Palestinian patients from their homes to hospitals in Israel.
Aya is the youngest of four children. In January, she was hospitalized in the Jenin Governmental Hospital for kidney failure. Ten days later, her condition having worsened, she was transferred to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where she received dialysis treatment for more than a month. Then, at the request of her family and with the authorization of the Palestinian Authority, Aya was moved to Rambam Medical Center, closer to her home.
The trip to the hospital begins at 5 a.m. Sahir Abo-Mois describes the physical and emotional challenges of daily travels with her toddler: "The minute we arrive at the hospital, the child is in stress."
Sahir leaves her other three children with her mother. The family lost a daughter six years ago to kidney disease; she died before her first birthday. This tragedy has made Sahir stronger and firm in her faith that Aya will get better and will have a better future.
"I am especially grateful to Derech Hachlama, and without their help I don't know how we could provide my daughter with the superior life-saving treatment that she needs."
Derech Hachlama was founded in 2006. It began when a Palestinian member of the Forum of Bereaved Families asked Yuval Roth, a friend and an Israeli member of the forum, to help him with travel to Rambam.
Roth, whose brother was murdered 15 years ago when, while performing IDF reserve duty, he hitched a ride with Hamas terrorists disguised as Orthodox Jews, didn't hesitate. With the aid of other forum members, some 60 patients were very quickly using the organization's travel services.
"The demand is great for travel from Palestinian villages to Israeli hospitals, and at least two new patients join our service every month," Roth said.