It was my secretIn 2009, the cancer knocked on my door for the first time. I had breast cancer, which had spread to my lymph glands. The advanced state of the tumor required immediate, aggressive chemotherapy. Within a month, from the moment of the diagnoses, I was knee-deep in a very intensive and complicated treatment. I deluded myself by believing that with one blow my illness could be eliminated. I never told anyone outside my close family. Trying not to pressurize anyone and fearing being pitied and of what others might say, I clamped-up and kept quiet, the way had I was taught when growing up.
I hid the truth under wigsEven after all my hair fell out, I hid the truth under wigs. I suffered terribly from the heat, not only from the heat waves resulting from my treatments, but it was mid-summer too. I was prepared to suffer, just to keep my secret like I was used since childhood. To reveal the truth, leaves one exposed. Exposure leaves you vulnerable and being vulnerable shows weakness. I continued hiding from the world and myself, building additional walls around my frightened heart, thinking that soon everything will be behind me, but the cancer had other plans for me.
Since childhood I loved painting, I loved painting worlds. I became to be a body painter, wall painter and make-up artist. I built-up a small business and was earning honest money. My illness also upset that part of security I had in my life. Due to the aggressive treatment and my weak immune system, I couldn’t continue working regularly and became dependent on the mercy of the Social Security. My family couldn’t support me financially and I found myself in huge debts and became very depressed. It was a difficult time for me. The little energy I had left, I used for working at events, airbrush art and wall painting. The work was physically very hard. I would return home “smashed” from the pain, my legs swollen and after each work session I had to rest for a few days, but I held my head above water with great pride. I chose to fight.
The doctors and I thought we had wonAfter the “hellish” treatments I endured, the doctors and I believed we had won. By that time, I was knee deep in heavy debt. Until then my life revolved around my illness and I had to concentrate on “things that did me good”. I was accepted by the Jewish Agency and I flew as a representative to the USA to manage the art department at a summer school. When I finished, I went to New York where I worked as an assistant to a well-known Airbrush artist, from whom I learned much expertise in this field. I returned home with renewed strength and was able to paint my way out of debt. Thanks to my talent and perseverance I over-came everything, I thought I had found my niche and had control over my life again. I began working as an artist at events and wall paintings, wherever possible. I worked very hard, as I had to pay off my debts which had increased during to my illness and I succeeded!
I’m at stage 4 of my illness – there is no stage 5Two and a half years ago, I started getting pain in my back and leg. I visited 6 doctors, who gave me pain-killers and anti-inflammatory pills, but the pain got worse. After months of doctors’ visits, my cancer was re-diagnosed. This time it was metastatic and had spread deep into my spine
and the rest of my body. A few days after my diagnosis, whilst walking a bone broke in my hip. I was hospitalized in an oncology and orthopedic rehabilitation ward. The doctors said there was nothing more they could do for me. There’s no cure. I was stage 4 of my illness and there is no stage 5. One of the doctors told me that the only thing left is to pray. I was sent to a home-hospice. On the one hand, I had to attend to my cancer and on the other hand I had to use a walker but only for short distances. I wondered how can I help myself and travel to therapists when I can’t walk. I realized there was no-one I could rely on, except myself. I had an awful crisis, a deep fear of death which lead me to the decision that I’m starting my fight once again to live.
My fight for lifeI studied everything possible about my illness. Although the odds were against me, I made a conscious decision – if there was even a 1% chance - I’ll be that percent. I learned that cancer is not only a physical but also a mental and emotional illness and that belief is an important key to recovery. When one goes on a journey, opportunities may present themselves. I met wonderful people who had recovered through alternative healing and I decided to learn from them how to heal myself in any possible way. I tried every option: from vitamin infusion, hydrotherapy, watsu, NLP, guided imagery, conversations, acupuncture, massage, diet, medical herbs, yoga and even an oncologist specializing in Chinese medicine with proven abilities of curing cancer. These treatments were not covered by any authority and the costs are a heavy burden, it still is.
This journey changed me, matured me, taught me responsibility, opened the world up to me, and made me aware of such beauty that I never knew existed. It taught me that embarrassment, guilt and fear are negative places to be in and to omit them from my life. Despite the pain and difficulty, I learned to recognize goodness and greatness of every breath. I’m grateful for my life and the opportunities I have had.
Two and a half years ago, the doctors gave me 2 months to live and said that probably I wouldn’t be able to walk and at best I will limp. It’s been two and a half years and I’m still here, standing on both feet with every intension of being here for many more years. In their perspective, I’m a medical miracle.
This process is very expensive, costing thousands of shekels for my treatments not including basic daily expenses. Unfortunately, I’m still unable to work, as my body is too weak and my treatments take up most of my time.
Crowdfunding – To expose your story to the world or die?When I shared my story with a friend and the economic complexity of it, she suggested I ask for help. I turned to various nonprofit organizations and despite their good intensions, I realized that they didn’t have a suitable solution for me. One organization told me – “Do you really think anyone will actually donate money to you?! You’re single, 40, childless, no chance!”
And then it hit me! The fact that I was 40 and childless, sentences me to die? I want to live!
My friend suggested that I try crowdfunding.
My first reaction was – “No way! Do you really think that I would share my illness with the whole world?” The embarrassment. What will people say? Everyone will pity me, begging for money. All my inner voices seeded during my childhood, yielded fruit at this moment. Black, bitter fruit. I was powerless and unsure that I will be able to escape from this deep, black hole.
"You don’t have a choice" she said “Either you expose your story with the world or die, choose”. For a few nights, I tossed in bed thinking about this, until I understood the lesson my cancer was teaching me this time round. This process I’m undergoing due to this crowdfunding campaign, has removed any armor I once thought would protect my heart and today, I understand that it
only hid my heart from the light of the world.
While my stomach was churning from the new dilemma in my life, an old friend decided to help me and together with a few other close friends we began setting up a campaign under a heading that makes my heart shiver – “Uniting for Ayelet”. OH, MY G-D!!
And that’s it, that’s my story.
Here I am, exposed, my paintings and I. We stand before you, asking you to open your hearts. A few days ago a friend told me that “The biggest gift one can offer someone, is to allow them to give as it makes them feel significant, and when people feel significant, they feel loved. So give people the opportunity to feel significant, to feel loved”.
It is still very difficult for me to be on the receiving side, yet something inside me is slowly releasing its grip and leaving my hands wide open - to receive.
Direct donation to Ayelet’s bank accountAyelet’s bank account details if you’d prefer to transfer the donation directly to her:
Account number 584896
The donations in Mimoona, or direct bank transfers are not accepted for tax return by the income Tax Authority of Israel.
If you're a business/company and would like to receive a tax invoice that is accepted for tax return (In Israel only) please contact the following email address prior to donating, so we can explain the correct procedure: firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately Mimoona doesn't accept Diners credit card. It's possible to donate with any other credit card, or transfer donations via a bank transfer or Bit application (Mobile App for money transfer).
Thank you :-)
Meet Ayelet's Deer
PerksWe have 2 types of gifts:
1. Perks that combine Ayelet's artwork (Canvas, Wood, Cup). At the end of the project we will send you an email to let us know which Deer you'd like and the "Held" branch in Israel that you would like to collect the Perk.
Below you can see the "Held" branches.
2. Perks that artists and businesses donated for Ayelet's project (Concert tickets, Digital courses, a hat with graffiti writing...). It's important to write us the relevant details for each perk (e.g. For the graffiti hat, write to us the name that you would like to be written).
* Please write the details in the Shipping details section.
The small print:
- At the end of the project we will send you an email with the details concerning how to receive the perk. Please don't address the business or artist directly without our instructions.
- It's important to remember that the artist and the businesses can't guarantee a specific date in advance, that's why the tickets are on an available space and reservation in advance.
- We will try to supply the perks as soon as possible after the project will end, but please remember the we are working with a few suppliers of different perks and a lot of donors... That's why delays might occur.
For any question you can contact us at:
Held's branches in Israel“Held” has almost 30 branches throughout Israel:
Hutzot Alonim, Cinemall Haifa, Azrieli Mall Haifa, Grand Canyon Haifa, Carmel Center Haifa, Lev Hadera, Azrieli Acre, Azrieli Kiryat Ata, Zichron Yaacov mall, “Street mall” Ramat Yishai.
Azrieli Givatayim, Shivat Hacochavim Herzliya, Azrieli Tel Aviv, Azrieli Rishonim Rishon LeZion, Azrieli Ayalon Ramat Gan, 108 Ahuza Raanana, Renanim Ra'anana, Shaar Rishon Rishon LeZion, The Grand Mall Petah Tikva, Ofer Sirkin Petach Tikva, 51 Sokolov Holon, Azrieli Modi'in, Drorim, G Shopping Mall Kfar Saba.
Bilu Center Kiryat Ekron, Ofer Rehovot, Giron Mall Ashkelon, Negev Mall Beer Sheva
For more information about the branches, please visit: https://held.co.il/pages/סניפים
** Don’t forget to write us in the shipping details section at which branch you would like to collect your perk ;-)
Copy RightsYou probably already know this, but just to make sure we’re write it down:
It should be remembered that the artwork offered in the perks section are Ayelet's art and all rights reserved. The perks are given to you for personal and private use and may not be distributed or used commercially.
AcknowledgmentsWe would like to thank all those who took part (which was on a voluntary basis) in setting up this campaign and making all this come to life .To all the wonderful businesses that donated the perks and to you the donors for helping us help Ayelet.
May G-d bless!
All perks were translated by Dana Mashmoor