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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 24, 2017 winning Malia March is Multiple Sclerosis Month and Hadassah leads the world in the stunning success and implementation of the research at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Malia is just one of the many stories of triumph in Prof. Dimitrios Karussis program. Malia was a top Dallas trial attorney--a senior partner in a law firm and the mother of three children, the youngest, age five. Her energy level was high and her life was full. And then, 18 years ago, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). In the beginning, her symp- toms were mild. For example, she was a little unsteady in her walking. She began taking a weekly injection of Avonex because, as her doctor told her, "You wouldn't want me to treat you for high blood pressure only after you had a heart attack." Malia tookAvonex for about 10 years. Still, her life became a journey of declining energy and mobility. Her biggest fear was that she would lose her vision and not be able to drive her children around. Fortu- nately, she didn't experience any problems with her vision, but her gait did get worse, as did the fatigue. Ultimately, she could only walkavery short distancewith a walker. Her balance became more unsteady. Her speech was harder to understand. And the fatigue got so bad that even taking a shower was so exhausting that she needed a nap afterward. Malia tried four or five dif- ferent medicines, but none seemed to help. As she ex- plained, however, the promise of these medicines is only to slow the progression of the disease, not to improve upon one's symptoms. At one point on this odyssey of decline, Malia fell and broke her leg and found herself in a wheelchair for six weeks. Danielle Faith Shenk- man, daughter of Lisa and Jason Shenkman of Sanford, will be called to the Torah as a bat mitzvah on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at Congregation Beth Am in Longwood. Danielle is in the sev- enth grade at Sanford Middle School where she is a member of the Jr. Thespi- ans, Advanced Chorus and the Drama Club. Her hobbies and inter- ests include singing, reading, dancing, art and theater. Sharing in the family's simcha will be Danielle's brother, Zachary; grandparents, Norman and Rita Shenk- man of Connecticut, and Debra and Leonard Silver of Boynton Beach, Fla.; as well as friends and family from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. She began to research other called the kids; her husband, ment of her abilities is taken. But, she is now a stem-cell treatment options, surfing David, made a video of her The most recent baseline, activist and fundraiser on the Internet extensively. It new ability. When her doctors Malia reported, was higher behalf of Hadassah because was how she came upon the came in that next morning to than everbefore. By the same "I feel I have been given a innovative stem-cell work see how she was doing, she token, her overall physical gift and I want to ensure that of Prof. Dimitrios Karussis, showed them her new skill, improvements are the best more people with MS can be senior neurologist at Hadas- "Everyone was sobbing," she they've been. helped." sah Hospital Ein Kerem and recalled; "we were all so ex- Malia's recovery is notWhile she doesn't know head of its Multiple Sclerosis cited by how amazing it was." without its setbacks. As the the other participants in the Center. She learned that Prof. Malia said: "The most im- stem-cell treatment wears clinicaltrial, shedidmeetone Karussis was conducting portant thing of all was that off, she does experience man from London last time a unique MS clinical trial the level of my fatigue was so some backsliding in her im- shewas at the hospital for her involving the injection of a improved." provements--perhaps in her infusion. As she relates, this patient's own bone marrow- Taking herself back to the speech or the way she walks, man was "giddy with excite- derivedstemcellsdirectlyinto night she returned homeNevertheless, after she has a ment, liftinghiscaneintheair the spinal cord. from that first infusion, Malia treatment, the improvements with one hand." They began When she met Prof. Karus- recalled: "We arrived back return or surpass the previ- to talk and he explained that sis for the first time, she was home at midnight. The next ous ones. he just had his first stem-cell walking with a walker, but morningat8,Iwasupwriting "I had forgotten what it infusion and, overnight, he couldn't walk any real dis- my blog. Then I unpacked, was like to feel like a regular was able to lift his cane up tance. It was December 2014. did laundry, and made a five- person, like someone with a in the air with his right hand In the spring of 2015, Malia, coursedinner for myhusband, normal level of energy; I had when for 15 years he had been who was accepted into one of after which he went to bed, forgotten what it was like to unable to even hold anything Prof. Karussis' clinical trials, exhausted from the jet lag. I, feel good," Malia said.in that hand. traveled back to Hadassah to however, stayed up to crochet When she is out and about "What I would like Ha- have a bone marrow extrac- anewblanketuntilmidnight." with her walker, she sees dassah supporters around tion, whichwouldbethebasis That renewed energy haspeople looking at her with the world to understand," for her stem-cell transplant, never disappeared since Ma- sympathy.Butshedoesn'tfeel Malia related, "is that yes, I As she explains, justasyringe lia started getting stem-cell sorry for herself, she notes, get the wonderful benefits ofcellsis extracted, but then infusions at Hadassah. She becauseshehasgottenherlife of Prof. Karussis' stem-cell these cells are enhanced in received two more in 2016 back. Maliafeels blessed that treatments (and, of course, culture for six months. In the and the most recent in Feb- she has come this far. "Until she does not minimize his fall of 2016, Malia received ruary 2017. The kind of im- you've been there, you can't trailblazing hard work and her first infusion. The actual provements varied with each really understand just how miraculous success), "but I infusion, itself, Maliarelates, infusion--sometimes theimportant it is to feel like a also was surprised to learn took only five minutes! improvement in her gait was regular person." thatIhavethislargeHadassah "I got the infusion at 2 most noticeable; other times, Malia had stopped prac-cheering squad that gives me p.m.," Malia recalled, "and itwastheclarityofherspeech, ticing law when she washopeandsupportsme--mak- eight hours later, I did some- With the 2017 infusion, itwas diagnosed with MS. But just ing me believe in possibilities thing I had not done in two her balance. Ayear or so ago, recently she reactivated her for improvement. As Malia to three years." She'explained she could only balance herself lawlicense.Shetookonacase, recalled, when she sits with that before the infusion, on a "whole body vibration with a colleague. And in the avisitor from Hadassah and whenever she got out of bed, machine" for about a minute beginningofApril, shewill be sees the look of awe on the to get backin, shewould have and a half. Then she worked going to trial, face of this Hadassah sup- to lift her right leg with her this up to five minutes. After "Whenyou feellikeyou can porter because of the leap in hands. This time, post infu- this fourth infusion, shecould do things you used to do, life her improvement, it gives her sion, after she got up to go to stay on the machine for 12 is as it should be," Malia said. renewed strength."There are the bathroom, she was able minutes and even let go of the Malia no longer takes any many things Iwant to dowith to get back into bed by just barwith one hand. medication for MS and being therestofmylife,'Maliasaid, lifting her right leg onto the In addition, before every an MS patient is no longer "andraisingmoneyforHadas- bed-without holding it! She infusion, abaseline measure- a central focus of her life. sah is at the top of the list." and elders d" By Jane Edelstein Jewish Pavilion As Passover seders ap- proach next month, and many Jews again recite the list of 10 plagues that were wrought upon the Egyptians, it behooves us to consider, "What are today's modern-day plagues, and what am I doing to help combat them?" Indeed, that's the question that a group of teens and ma- ture adults asked themselves present-day plagues Modern-day plagues encompass maladies ranging from XX to YY, noted a group of mature adults and teens. An intergenerational program on this subjectwas sponsored by The Jewish Pavilion and Ohev Shalom synagogue. Ohev Shalom's Amy Geboff moderated. This Passover, whether you choose to celebrate with us or in the comfort of your own home, let TooJay's do the preparation for your holiday meal. Call ahead and we will have your order ready; ask about our express pick-up options. To dine in on Monday, April 10 or Tuesday, April 11, please call to make a reservation for the 5:00p.m. or 7:30p.m. seating. See restaurant or website for full menu. at a recent Jewish Pavilion "I stood up for a gay friend worktostaveofftheloneliness intergenerational program of mine inschool, and I lost and isolation that plagues held at the Village on the some friends in the process," older adults in long-term Green senior-living facility noted another teen. "But care by bringing year-round inLongwood. The "frogs and I know the right thing to programs and holiday cel- locusts of the past" may be do is stand up for what I ebrations. April will be one somewhat equated with the believe in." of our busiest months, as we racism and anti-Semitism Other modern-day plagues keep Jewish residents con- that we see worldwide today, discussed by the class in- nected by bringing Passover class members indicated, cludedhunger, homelessness, programs to over 70 facilities "We're not born being bullies poverty and disease--in both throughout Orlando," noted or racists," noted one teen. America and around the Nancy Ludin, Jewish Pavilion "We are taught (by those world."Wehavealotof(fund- executive director. around us) to be that way." raising) drives and communi- This program was another Many in our society think ty service programs through in a series of intergenera- thatthe"modern-dayplague" our shul to help against these tional programs sponsored of bullying is not a big prob- onalocal level,'saidAmyGe- by The Jewish Pavilion and lem. However, it can be ex- boff, directorofCongregation Ohev Shalom synagogue. tremely damaging during the Ohev ShalomYouth & Family The Jewish Pavilion program teen years. In fact, there have Education, and moderator of was supported by funding been a number of national the program, from The Cherna Moskowitz news stories about teens "All of us have to become Foundation; Ohev Shalom's who have committed suicide educated on the issues, and "Dinner, Daber and Dvar" is after being bullied by their do what we can on our level." in conjunction with JTEN of classmates. "At the Jewish Pavilion, we the Jewish Federation.