[COMMUNICATED] Ruth & Matisyahu Shzigel chose to do something that most families dare not attempt:To raise 16 children. Like many to choose to live such a life, they did it with joy & seemingly endless energy. Mother Ruth raised and married off 5 of her children, and juggled the responsibilities of the other eleven with grace, as father Matisyahu worked hard as a teacher in a yeshiva gedola.
They were truly ‘living the dream,’ until Ruth was diagnosed with the rare disease cryoglobulinemia. Cryoglobulinemia attacks the internal organs, and has ultimately rendered the once energetic mother unable to leave her bed. She spends long stretches of time in the hospital, and Matisyahu has been left to raise their many children alone. While he is away at work the children fend for themselves. It has put tremendous strain, both emotional and financial, on the family.
In a moving video, Ruth sits up in the bed she is confined to. She speaks with warmth and a smile, despite her pale and sickly appearance. With pride and sadness, she holds up a letter from her youngest daughter. The letter reads as follows:
“Mommy, when you come back I will give you a hug. We will be so happy. We will have
balloons and lots of things.”
It is a heartbreaking glimpse into the family’s new reality. In her own words, Ruth describes her children as ‘scared.’ She is often gone, battling for her life. And in another battle, Matisyahu is home, fighting to keep his household afloat. His salary as a teacher is far from enough to take care of the 11 children still at home, or to manage their other medical expenses.
The Shzigel family is praying that families who are blessed to have their healthy & security will donate to help them through this difficult time. At this point, it is their only hope.
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