The Sky is the Limit!

by Yarden Frankl

March 27th, 2017

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Over the last few years, Gilly, my kids and I have biked, run, and swam for a variety of charities. (Next year we will get mudded up — but that’s another post.)

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Combined, we have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and shekels. We have helped schools for special needs children, renovated a chemo unit, and supported a summer camp for kids who have lost a parent or a brother or sister.

I was so inspired by the idea of activity-based fund-raising, that I came to work for the ALYN Children’s Hospital — known world-wide for the Wheels of Love ride (which might just be the best charity bike ride in the world).

But ALYN doesn’t just have great sports events for people to raise money — it’s also an amazing place that I don’t think I can accurately describe.

But I’ll try.

The other day my ankle was hurting from a run the night before. I was feeling grumpy as I struggled up the stairs to my office. And coming down the stairs was a therapist teaching an 8 year old boy how to go down stairs with his new prosthetic leg.

Kinda hard to complain about your self-inflicted running injury when you see that.

Yet despite the fact that it looked really hard, the therapist was making the boy smile. He had turned the step exercise into a game. I even heard a laugh at one point.

That’s what happens all the time here.

The therapists teach the kids to shoot baskets, and bake cookies, plant flowers, even play with puppies! The kids don’t even realize that these activities are therapies to help strengthen their muscles and their balance — and their emotions. They just want to do the same fun stuff that all children can do. Why should it matter that they need a motorized wheelchair or a ventilator?

These are kids first — not just “patients”.

I could go on, but the point is every time I walk through the doors and see these kids, I think: “Thank G-d there is a place like ALYN.

So of course, I know you are expecting me to announce that I am riding my bike to the moon or something and ask for donations for ALYN.

But I’m not. Not this time.

This time my wife Gilly and my son Yedidya will be the participants. And even though neither can run a marathon (yet), we have an event that requires more mental than physical strength.

On April 13, they will both jump out of an airplane 3,000 meters up. The rest of the family and I will be waiting on the ground for them (this is definitely NOT on my bucket list).

Please click here to support them. I have covered all the costs for the event, so that every dollar, shekel, and Swiss Kronar you give will go to help the kids here at the hospital. (If you would like to raise money yourself and join them on the jump, let me know.)

The Frankl Family is very grateful that we are physically able to push the limits with everything we do. Please help us help those for whom pushing the limits means walking down stairs with an artificial leg.

Thank you.

Yarden, Gilly, Yedidya and the rest of the Frankl Family.

CLICK HERE FOR THEIR FUNDRAISING PAGE.

Happy Birthday Mom

by Rivka Frankl

February 28th, 2017

Stella smile AprilToday we celebrate life.

 Today marks the day an amazing person joined our world. 50 years ago today, my mother was born. On this day my mother began her journey. This day, is when it all started.

 My mother’s life was filled with ups and downs like all of ours, so what made her so special? Maybe it was the way she always put others needs before hers. Maybe it was her kind and genuine heart that touched everyone she met. Or maybe some people are just born special. Either way, her life was an incredible journey and that’s what I want to focus on today. Her LIFE.

 Throughout her life, my mother was able to touch so many people and spread joy and love to everyone she met. She helped and comforted those who needed. She laughed and cried with people she loved. She took risks, and made sacrifices. She made the most out of her life even if it was a short one. She made the best of the what seemed like the worst. She never complained. She followed her heart and what she believed in. As her daughter, I am forever grateful for the sacrifices she and my father had to make in order to raise us in Israel. She was an amazing mother.

She smiled with that incredible smile of hers.

 I miss that smile.

 Today I want to celebrate her life. I want to remember her for the way she lived. We can learn so much from her life if we just focus on the good things she left behind instead of the fact that shes not here. Her life was a journey filled with adventures and excitement. She lived with an optimistic attitude towards life and a positive outlook. She wasn’t afraid to take risks or make sacrifices in order to reach her goals. In her short 46 years of life she managed to leave a mark on the people she touched, and by doing that leaving her mark on the world.

 Today, and everyday, I’m going to focus on the lessons she taught me and hopefully learn something from her life. As a birthday present and to honor her I am going to do some good today. You’re welcome to join.

 Let’s spread some Stella magic today, shall we?

 Today we celebrate.

 Today is about life.

 Happy birthday mom.2764

Knowing the Future but Living the Present

by Miriam Frankl

December 11th, 2016

img-20161211-wa0003-1My daughter Miriam spoke on Shabbat about her mother. My son Yedidya’s Bar Mitzvah was earlier in the week. These were her remarks:

___________

At his Bar Mitzvah, Yedidya talked about the importance of looking ahead and planning for the future. But he also spoke about living in the current moment.

Not just worrying about what will be but enjoying the present.

Before my mother passed away there are two things she did.

Two more decisions she had made that represent perfectly this exact ideal.

birthdayShe refused to pass away during the week of Yedidya’s birthday and have his birthday always burdened and saddened by the fact that it was mixed together with the anniversary of her passing. This was her planning ahead, looking out for his future. She knew how much this one week difference could drastically impact Yedidya and was always looking out for him.

Even when she was dying, she was looking ahead to the many years to come, including his bar mitzvah.

And so she made the seemingly impossible decision to hold on a little longer. And she did it.

The second thing she wanted might sound silly, cute and not very important, but to me it represented so much more.

She wanted to know who would win Master Chef Junior. This was a tv show that her and Yedidya would watch every week. Every time a new episode would come out Yedidya would bring the Ipad up to my parents’ room and lie down with my mom to watch the latest episode. Sometimes I or someone else in the family would join, but this was mostly Yedidya and my mom’s thing. Master chef wasn’t only a really good, funny tv series, it also represented the here and now.

Quality time with her kids. No matter what was going on, how hard the situation was, watching these episodes was nonnegotiable. She was going to enjoy the present, no matter what the future held. A lesson we could all learn from. She loved watching it with Yedidya and was going to continue, during the best and the worst life had to offer. She continued living until the very end.

Worry about the future and plan accordingly, it could make all the difference. Don’t just think that whatever happens will happen, and I’m not going to be able to change it so why bother trying at all.

You can’t control everything, a lot is unknown. However that’s no excuse not to try making life better, whether it’s your own or the people you love. You can always make a difference — and a big one at that. Take your life into your hands. Even though we aren’t all superhuman like my mother and probably can’t make the same level decisions 🙂 .

However remember what else is important. The time we have now. Enjoy moments, don’t let the difficulties and struggles that life hands you take over living every minute of everyday, no matter how trivial day to day tasks seem when something much larger is looming over.

So watch that tv show, walk the dog, go to the movies or whatever else you’d like to do because that’s what living is and in the long run, it’ll make all the difference.

Life doesn’t stop when things get hard. Neither should you.

Miriam Frankl, Neve Daniel

Holidays Without Mom

by Rivka Frankl

November 4th, 2016

“Happy Holidays”

I don’t remember much from before my mother’s diagnosis. I remember going to school and playing with friends. I remember coming home to find some after-school snack my mom had prepared for us (yes, everyday). I remember going upstairs to tell my dad about whatever happened at school (when he worked from home). I remember little things. I don’t really remember anything special about how we celebrated the holidays, but I’m sure we were just like everyone else. You know, a “normal family”.

My mom’s diagnosis was like a slap in the face. I all of a sudden realized what was really important in life. Family. Everyday was a gift and the holidays became an extra-emotional time for us. Every holiday that my mother got to celebrate with us was a huge milestone.

The holidays became a time that I dreaded. It felt like we were all just faking it and pretending to be a “normal family”. It all just reminded me of how we weren’t one and probably never will be. The whole “faking it” thing continued even after my mother passed and after my father remarried. The first year was just uncomfortable and a little awkward for everyone…

Now we’re 3 years later and this year’s holidays have been somewhat, different. They were nice… kind of fun even. Everybody helped with the cooking and cleaning, everybody sat around the table for the holiday meal (which is VERY rare). Everyone smiled. Real, happy smiles. We ate, we talked, we laughed. We sang holiday songs on the top of our lungs and it was amazing.

img-20161014-wa0009We’re never gonna be a “normal family” but I’m okay with that. Our family isn’t complete, but we’re not broken. We’re different from most families and we don’t look it, but we work together. The holidays were proof of that. I’m happy to say I now love the holidays, and I love my complicated family.

I hope your holidays were as meaningful as mine.

Happy Holidays,

Rivka Frankl.

Neve Daniel/Golan Heights.

Why Nov?

by Yarden Frankl

October 15th, 2016

For those who don’t know, I’ve just begun my third year of high school at 12417604_1101785176507696_8664324219225421311_nUlpnat Eyal BaRama, located in Moshav Nov in the Golan Heights. As you can imagine, I get asked quite a lot why I chose to go to a school that’s roughly 4-5 hours away from my home, in Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion. Usually, I answer by simply saying that its special and I absolutely love it. Now all that is true, but the real answer is just too long to say to someone during a casual conversation.

So here it is:

The year before you go to high school should be filled with excitement and spending time with your friends before you go your separate ways. You should be focusing on getting a good report card and getting into a good school. As many of you know, by reading my dads blog and following our family’s story, my year was a little different. I wasn’t focusing on school at all. I was focusing on my mother and how my family was gonna live without her.

My mother passed away on November 14th, 2013. I was 13 years old and had just begun 8th grade, otherwise known as my year before high school. While all my friends were looking at different schools, excited for the future and so full of hope my world fell apart. After 2 and a half long years of fighting, my beautiful, strong, amazing mother had lost her battle with cancer. I was a complete mess. I wouldn’t eat and I would stay in bed for days at a times. I’m not gonna get into everything I was going through at the time, but I was very much depressed. It took months before I finally went back to school and even then, I would only go for an hour or two. I didn’t have any grades and didn’t think that any school would accept me. I applied to the one school I thought I had a chance to get into (where my sister went at the time) and didn’t get accepted.

LIFE LESSON #1: POSITIVE THINKING MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE

While everyone around me was trying to get me into that one specific school, I started doing some research. I don’t know how or why, but I took me not getting into any school and perhaps not having anywhere to go next year, as an opportunity. A sign that maybe I wasn’t meant to go to that school. Maybe there was something else out there for me. I always liked the idea of living at a dorm, so I started searching. I also wanted a school that offered a dance program, since dance was (and still is) one of the things that can always make me happy.

LIFE LESSON #2: WHEN IN A DARK PLACE, NEVER EVER GIVE UP ON THE LITTLE THINGS THAT STILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.12967406_1771310506421805_5319054379293934649_o

After a few solid days of online searching, I found the website of a little dorm in the Golan. The more I read, the more I wanted to go there. It was far, but I hadn’t been excited about anything in a while and this was definitely getting me excited. I began emailing the secretary at the school, and asked if I could come check it out. I gathered and sent all the documents she had asked for and she gave me a date to come in for an interview.

LIFE LESSON #3: TAKE A CHANCE.

After some convincing, my father agreed to go “check it out” with me. As you can imagine, he wasn’t too keen on the idea of his youngest daughter going so far away. He was against the idea, to say the least, yet he still took a chance with me. So on April 1st 2014, we took a rode trip up to the Golan (along with a close family friend whom I had asked to join). I can safely say that the first time I stepped foot in that school, I fell in love with it. When asked what makes Nov so special, I say the people. They make you feel so welcomed from the minute you enter, they start conversations with you seconds after they’ve met you and its always with a huge smile. The more I looked around, the more I started seeing myself fitting in there. My father realized I had already made up my mind and that if they would accept me I was going. I had not been so sure or excited about something in so long, and my dad could see it. The next day we got a call. I had been accepted. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, I was so happy. At that moment I knew my mother was watching. I don’t know how, but she had made this happen and I wasn’t gonna let her down.

It wasn’t easy but I got myself together, and knew I was given a second chance. I was given the chance to start over and I was not going to waste it. I took a chance looking into Nov. It was a risk, but I have no regrets. Its been a hard 2 years at Nov, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This school has done so much for me its unbelievable. I’ve learned so much about myself and about life. This school helped me get back on my feet after a tragedy, it gave me all the help, love and support I needed. I am forever grateful for this  amazing place and the even more amazing people in it. It has changed my life and in many ways saved it.12508836_1101786209840926_2642813544951878495_n

And that is why I go to Nov.

-Rivka Frankl.

Neve Daniel/Golan Heights.